Your immune system is in charge of your health. However, sometimes this immune system can overreact to certain substances that are normally harmless to most of the people. These are the allergens which could also be a food. The response brought about by the ingestion of this food is called a ‘food allergy’. So, how can you know if you are allergic to a food? Well, seeing a nutritionist can help identify the food allergens. However, in todays’ times of an ongoing pandemic, an online consultation would be equally helpful.

Food allergy should not be confused with food intolerance or sensitivity as the latter does not involve the immune system.

Now, how does one recognize a food allergy?
The indications might extend from being mild to severe. Allergic reaction to food varies from skin rashes; swelling of face, lips and tongue; gastrointestinal distress like vomiting and diarrhoea to potentially life threatening anaphylaxis which is an extreme allergic reaction that causes trouble in breathing, cough, drop in blood pressure and might influence your heart rate. Food allergies can develop from childhood or even in adulthood.

And, what sort of foods prompt such responses?

Now, each person differs in the response to a specific food. Also, if one individual is allergic to a specific food, another person may or probably won't be adversely affected by the same food. However, there are some foods that routinely are known to cause an allergic reaction, namely: milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, sea foods like fish, shrimp; wheat, soy, egg, fruits like kiwi, banana; sesame seeds. The symptoms may appear in a couple of minutes, two hours, four to six hours or even longer.

Is there a link between food allergies and asthma?

Asthma is a caused due to an inflammation of the air route. The cause can vary from individual to individual. In asthma, when the air route comes in contact with a trigger, it gets inflamed, becomes narrow, and is filled up with mucus leading to troubled breathing. One such trigger is food allergies. With the previously mentioned food allergens, food preservatives can also trigger asthma, especially sulfite added substances like sodium bisulphite, potassium bisulphite etc found in packaged foods, food colourings like tartrazine (yellow food dye), MSG (monosodium glutamate) which are flavour enhancers found in packet soups, ready to eat foods; salicylates present in ketchup, soy sauce, etc.

It is critical to distinguish the foods that might cause such responses. There are various tests to determine your allergies. If it has been established that a specific food causes an allergic reaction, the only treatment is the exclusion of that food from your diet. You may also find a best dietitian online to help you learn read food labels and plan healthy meals with your food allergies.

Author's Bio: 

Arati has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition as well as a post-graduation in Sports Sciences and Nutrition from Mumbai’s premier university – S.N.D.T. at Juhu. She also has a Fellowship in Clinical Nutrition. She has worked for 4 years at India’s pioneering sports sciences institute – Gopikrishna Piramal Memorial Hospital. Post that she was a consultant for 10 years before establishing Café Nutrition.

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