An Introduction to Food Allergies
I have food sensitivities, so I understand how hard it is to avoid foods and be on restrictive diets. I haven’t been able to consume chocolate or caffeine since I was a teenager. When you have reactions to some types of food, you learn to get creative!
My sensitivities have made me very aware of nutrition, and getting my energy from very nutritious foods. I make a lot of recipes, shakes, smoothies, and brownie/treats using carob, instead of chocolate.
What is the difference between a food sensitivity and a food allergy?
The major difference between an allergy and a sensitivity is the severity of the symptoms. While there is some overlap, a sensitivity will usually cause symptoms like mild discomfort whereas a food allergy will be severe and very noticeable. Food allergies are less common than sensitivities and affect six percent of children and three percent of adults.
What do food allergy symptoms look like?
Symptoms of food allergies range from moderate to severe and can include itching and swelling, rashes, hives, vomiting, and very severe reactions like anaphylaxis that can be life threatening.
Basically, food allergies occur because the body’s immune system overreacts to a certain food. For example, someone who is allergic to peanuts has an immune system that sees peanut particles as a “foe,” and the symptoms occur when the body is trying to shut down that foe.
What should I know if I have food allergies?
The first and most important step is to accurately identify them. By getting tested for food allergies, you can find out what foods you’re allergic to and how severe the allergy is. Then you’ll get to talk with a medical professional about what you need to know to stay away from a major reaction. You will learn about the dangers of cross contamination and what to look for in the foods you eat.
Like environmental allergies, food allergies can be tackled with immunotherapy in the form of food allergy drops. The purpose of these drops is for the body to build a resistance to the foods that you’re allergic to. This doesn’t mean that someone with a peanut allergy will be able to eat a whole jar of peanut butter. What it does mean is that if they accidentally ingest something with peanuts in it, their life shouldn’t be threatened.
To learn more about food allergies and sensitivities, go to: www.texanallergy.com/allergies