FOOD ALLERGY

Let’s discuss about food allergy….

Author: Madhuri Popat Dukare,(Research scholar), Dr.Sweta Rai (Assistant Professor) Food Science & Technology, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture &Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand.

Introduction

Food allergy can be defined as an unpleasant or dangerous reaction of immune system after particular food is eaten. There are too many foods are responsible for such allergies this food is known as food allergens. Milk, fish,wheat, soybeans, tree nuts, peanuts are most common food allergens. Studies show that generally 1 in 20 young children under the age of 5 years and 1 in 25 adults are allergic to at least one food. Mainly allergy to peanut is most common. Due to this nowadays people are becoming aware of food allergy. Food allergy is considered as a disease of a civilization.The main factors responsible for food allergies are genetic factors like family history, health of parents, environmental factors like hygiene, changes in lifestyle, diet and nutrition. Children by birth in cesarean section may susceptible for food allergy because this process may interfere with colonization process and this lead to develop allergic condition to food. Replacement of breast feeding by protein formulas can impose immunological reaction in infants. Habits of eating canned foods can give rise to allergic reactions. Data shows that 6-8% children and 1-2% of adults are suffering from food allergy.

Common allergens

Food allergies are common in infants, children, and adults. According to WHO and FAO most common eight food allergens are responsible for 90% of total food allergies. They mainly causes of protein allergies are peanuts, soy, eggs, cereals, milk, other nuts, fish and shellfish. Gluten allergy is also common and sometimes called as a celiac disease which damages small intestinal villi.

In infants and children, the most common foods allergens are egg, milk, peanut,tree nuts such as walnuts, soy (primarily in infants), wheat. In adults, the most common foods allergens are shellfish such as shrimp, crayfish, lobster, crab, peanut, tree nuts, and fish such as salmon.

Symptoms

There are some kind of symptoms are seen when particular food is eaten. The allergic reactions are associated with skin, gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts and cardiovascular systems. Food allergy is a leading cause of anaphylaxis. One can observe swelling of lips and tongue, itching in mouth, gastrointestinal problems like vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps and pain, problem while breathing and drop in blood pressure. Fatigue in the morning or immediately after getting out of bed, pain and stiffness in shoulder, back pain, neck pain, and headache. Some psychiatric symptoms like tension,nervousness, irritation, anxiety attacks, confusion, nervousness, inability to speak, depression, discouragement are common in allergic person. Skin infections are common allergic reactions to foods. Acute urticaria (hives), angioedema (swelling) and erythema (redness of skin) are observed in allergic individuals.

Prevention

It is well known that fermented foods are beneficial to health. Cereals and milk products when fermented they reduces allergenicity of food. LAB is helps in anti-allergy treatment by the mechanism of immune regulation. Probiotic bacteria reduce gluten content of cereals like wheat by proteolysis and thus show anti- allergy effects. Vitamin D deficiency lead to cause food allergy, ideal level of vitamin D, diverse microbiota, and allergen exposure collectively helps in tolerance of allergy. Probiotic has been effective to modulate immune system and it is beneficial to prevent and also treatment of food allergy. The results are variable by variation in mode of treatment. We can manage food allergies by preventing eating allergic foods. Always read labels while purchasing and eating food because on labels includes important information regarding allergen. One should always take care when cooking if member in family is allergic to particular food. Always keep your medicines with you. You should always prepare to avoid any accident.

Conclusion

Though food allergy is very serious problem in all age groups like in infants, children and adults there is less knowledge and more beliefs are exists among people. Food allergies cannot be treated or cured completely therefore taking care during eating is most important thing in allergic person.  Ignorance and lack of seriousness affect quality of health and thereby quality of life of individual too affected. Hence it is advisable that if you or a member of your family has a food allergy, consult your healthcare professional for medical advice.Some people feel embarrassed by having food allergies. By taking it positively, it is well said that having any food allergies does not mean that your body is weak or broken, it means your body is intelligent enough to give you indication that particular food is not good for your health.

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