Thursday, September 11, 2008

What is a Food Allergy?

By Dorothy Medlum

A reaction by the body's immune system to something you ate or drank is called a food allergy. These particular allergies are more common in children than they are in adults. These are also more common to those who may have other types of allergies.

Very minute amounts of food can cause a reaction if you are allergic to it, and a severe reaction can be life threatening and occur suddenly.

When the body's immune system mistakes a harmless substance for a harmful one, an allergy has occurred. Such is the case in food allergies. The substance your body sees as harmful is the food itself.

Therefore, the next time you eat that type of food, your immune system releases great amounts of chemicals, such as histamines, to protect the body. These chemicals can then trigger symptoms that can affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, gastrointestinal tract, and skin.

Tips for Managing a Peanut Allergy

Artificial nuts can also be peanuts that have been reflavored with a nut, such as pecan or walnut. Manedlonas are peanuts soaked in almond flavoring.

Arachis oil is peanut oil. If you are eating at an African, Chinese, Indonesian, Mexican, or Thai restaurant, their dishes oftentimes contain peanuts or are contaminated with peanuts during the preparation process. Foods that are also sold in bakeries and ice cream shops often are in contact with peanuts. Many brands of sunflower seeds are produced on equipment shared with that of peanuts.

Keep in Mind

Most allergic individuals, studies show, can safely eat peanut oil-sometimes. If you are not sure, ask your doctor if you should avoid peanut oil because of your peanut allergy. Most experts agree if you have a peanut-allergic patient, he/she needs to avoid eating tree nuts as an extra precaution. Peanuts are found in many foods and candies, especially chocolate candy. Check your labels carefully. Contact the manufacturer if you have questions.

Tips for Managing a Wheat Allergy

Celiac disease and wheat allergy are two distinct conditions. Celiac disease, or celiac sprue, is a permanent adverse reaction to gluten. Wheat -allergic people have an IGE-mediated response to wheat protein. These individuals must only avoid wheat. Most wheat-allergic children outgrow this allergy.

Keep in Mind

Read labels carefully. At least one brand of hot dogs and one brand of ice cream contain wheat. It is listed on the label. Many country-style wreaths are decorated with wheat products. Some types of imitation crabmeat contain wheat. Wheat flour is sometimes flavored and shaped to look like beef, pork, and shrimp, especially in Asian dishes.

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