Food allergies are very common. In fact, they affect over 32 million adults and children in the United States alone, and the numbers are continuously rising. Although these affected individuals are allergic to different foods, there are prevalent food items that affect most people
Here are some of the most common food allergies — and how you can manage them.
An allergy to cow’s milk is one of the most common childhood allergies, affecting over 2% to 3% of children. Individuals with an allergy to cow’s milk should also avoid foods and beverages such as cheese, butter, yogurt, margarine, ice cream, and cream. However, more than 90% of affected kids will outgrow the allergy when they reach toddlerhood.
Tree nut allergies get triggered by nuts and seeds coming from trees. It’s a common food allergy that affects around 1% of Americans, which is approximately 3.3 million. Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, and walnuts are examples of tree nuts. Individuals with a tree nut allergy are typically allergic to food items made with these nuts, including oils and nut butter. Reactions from this allergy are usually severe, contributing to over half of anaphylaxis-related deaths in the U.S.
Wheat allergies respond to the proteins present in wheat, and it affects kids the most. A wheat allergy can induce several adverse reactions, including vomiting, digestive distress, hives, rashes, or in more severe cases, death. However, those affected with wheat allergy, especially kids, tend to outgrow as they get older, typically around ten years old.
Soy allergies are triggered by proteins present in soybeans or products with this ingredient, and it mostly affects children. Soy allergy symptoms range from an itchy and tingling mouth to anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction). However, most affected individuals outgrow the allergy.
Managing Food Allergies
Dealing with a food allergy can be daunting since its effects dramatically range from mildly bothersome to possibly fatal. There’s no cure, but you can manage it.
Here are different ways you can manage food allergies:
Avoid Eating Out
The best way to manage food allergies is by being cautious about the food you consume, and that can be challenging, especially when dining out. That’s why many personal trainers take nutrition courses. You might want to sign up for those too to learn more ways to serve safe and healthy food instead of eating outside.
All food you buy today will typically include essential allergy information, such as whether it contains any additives like milk or wheat. But it’s still wise to read the labels every time since many manufacturers often change ingredients.
Take Care When Cooking and Serving Food at Home
If not everyone in your home follows an allergen-free diet, you need to ensure you avoid cross-contamination. You can do this by having two sets of everything, whether it’s cooking or eating utensils — one for the allergic individual and one for who isn’t. Plus, you need to thoroughly wash all dishes and utensils using hot and soapy water between each use.
Unlike simple food intolerance, food allergy roots from your immune system, meaning it can potentially cause fatal consequences, and there’s no cure for it. Fortunately, knowing the most common allergies like those mentioned can help you manage them efficiently, ensuring your health and safety.