How Do You Know What Causes A Food Allergy?
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For most people, food is the way to our hearts. It is a type of love language that is universal. But the sad truth that most of us try to ignore when it comes to food is the dreaded allergies that come along with it.

Medically speaking, allergies are an excessive immune response to a foreign compound whose symptoms can range from mild rashes, a running nose, and watery eyes to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. An allergic reaction is the way our body reacts to an allergen. An allergen is any substance that causes allergies. If you come down with an allergic reaction, your body produces allergic antibodies (IgE) the first time you get exposed to the allergen. These antibodies are responsible for locating allergens and removing them from your body. As a result, a molecule called histamine is released. This causes the allergy symptoms. So, in a nutshell, when you get a food allergy, your body creates a specific antibody to a particular food, and the allergic reaction can occur just minutes after consuming the meal, and its symptoms can be severe.

Now let’s have a look at the "Big 8," which is a collection of the eight most common allergic foods out there. In fact, according to the United States Food Allergen Labeling Act (FALCPA), these food items contribute to 90% of all product allergies in the country.


Milk is the most common allergen worldwide, and it is the main cause of food allergies in children. Milk allergy, or lactose intolerance, is a condition where the body is unable to digest lactose, a kind of sugar found in milk. Lactase is the enzyme used to breakdown lactose, and most lactose-intolerant people are unable to produce this enzyme. But in most cases, children outgrow milk allergies in the first six years of life.


Eggs are a primary food incorporated into every child’s diet during the initial years of life. However, as per research, egg allergy, like cow’s milk allergy, is very common but is usually outgrown in the first six years of life. Egg allergy symptoms are frequently manifested as digestive system reactions.


Fish allergies are most common in areas with a high fish intake. Common indications of allergic reactions to fish are skin and gastrointestinal responses that occur quickly after intake. There have also been reports of anaphylactic shock.

    Crustacean shellfish: 

According to the European Food Safety Authority, crustacean and shellfish allergies mostly affect older children and adults, particularly in areas where consumption is high. Shrimps, prawns, crabs, and lobsters are the most important members of the crustacean shellfish family.

    Tree Nuts: 

Nuts are one of the most common dietary allergens in the world. Nuts like the Brazil nut, chestnut, hazelnut, pine nut, walnut, and many more are one of the most potent allergenic foods. The potency is calculated in terms of the amount of food necessary to induce an allergic reaction and the severity of the response.


Legumes like peanuts are important crop plants high in nutritional content. However, when consumed, they can cause a variety of allergic reactions. Proteins linked to bean allergies are primarily from the seed storage protein family, albumins.  


Wheat is another common allergen among infants. IgE-mediated allergy to cereals can cause mild reactions on the skin or the gut, and more serious reactions like anaphylactic events. Wheat allergies can also include a type of baker's asthma caused by occupational exposure to grain flour dust.


Rice is tolerable for people sensitive to wheat-related crops. Rice allergies are not very common in Europe and America, but as expected, they may be common in Asia.


Soybean and its derivatives are used as food in the form of tofu as well as for technological purposes such as emulsifiers. However, soy allergies are significantly less common than peanut allergies. Its symptoms are similar to those of a peanut allergy, ranging from minor reactions to life-threatening systemic reactions. Though it is common in infants and children, it can appear at any stage of life. 

In general, our first choice when consuming food should be to look at the labels and figure out the allergens present (since the FDA ensures that the products’ major food allergens are mentioned clearly on the packaging label), and treatment should always be a second choice. Usually a histamine, like diphenhydramine, is used to treat acute food allergy responses due to its rapid onset of action and widespread availability. There is no cure for food allergies, but their symptoms can be reduced with drugs like diphenhydramine or by the use of an auto-injector.