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Top 10 Common Food Allergies

Written by: Editorial Staff

September 22, 2010
Filed Under Health 

Tags: , , , ,

Contributed by Aurora LaJambre, Info Guru

Though technically any food can cause an allergic reaction, only a handful of scoundrels are responsible for 90% of common food allergies.

Some of the most common allergies occur in young children, who grow out of them in a few years, but the most severe allergies can last a lifetime. In adults, new allergies can come as a surprise, requiring some investigation to find the source.

Here’s a list of the top ten food allergies, with the “worst” at #1:

10. Citrus

Citrus allergies range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms include a runny nose or hives while severe reactions affect the respiratory system or digestive tract. Citrus vapors can carry allergens so it’s best to avoid places where citrus is eat or prepared in severe cases.

9. Vegetable and Fruit

Many people who are affected by pollen in the air are also affected by a minor, but common allergy to a specific vegetable or fruit. Cooking destroys most of the allergens in fruit, which is why someone allergic to apples can still eat apple pie.

8. Shellfish

About 60% of people with a shell fish allergy first experience a symptom as an adult. Reactions are often triggered by exposure to the vapors of cooking scallops, oysters, pawns, lobster, shrimp and crab.

7. Soya

One of the milder food allergies, soya allergy is common in young children. The challenge is that about 2/3 of manufactured foods contain a form of soya, which is not always clear on food labels. Soya is frequently listed as vegetable oil, lecithin and hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Soya products that may surprise you include baked goods, cereals, drinks, ice creams, seasoned food and processed meat.

6. Fish

Fish allergy is much more common in adults because adults consume more fish. People with a fish allergy often react to different types of fish as many carry the same allergens, which cooking does not destroy. The 2.3% of Americans who are allergic to fish should avoid touching fish, cooking areas where fish is prepared, and products that are made in facilities that also carry fish. Read ingredient labels, particularly on Worcestershire sauce, barbeque sauce, dressings and meatloaf.

5. Eggs

Egg allergies are more common in children than adults. In fact, 1.5% of young children are affected by egg allergy, though most grow out of it by age 3. Proteins in the egg whites are often the cause. For some, egg allergy actually occurs when someone is allergic to chicken meat, known as bird-egg syndrome.

4. Wheat

Both children and adults are affected by wheat allergies. One of the primary allergens in wheat is gliadin, which is found in gluten. Many people with a wheat allergy eat a gluten-free diet, which involves reading labels and trying the many tasty wheat alternatives – amaranth, corn, quinoa, rice and tapioca do not contain gluten. As the main grain product of the United States, a wheat allergy can be a challenge is you focus on what you can’t eat instead of what you can.

3. Peanuts

Don’t even look at the picture! Peanut allergy is an extremely common food allergy. For someone who is allergic, exposure to peanuts can trigger a severe reaction. Many are told to avoid eating peanuts or being near traces of peanuts.. In severe cases, sitting by someone eating peanut butter can trigger an allergic reaction. Sauces, sweets, gravy, and Asian and Mexican food often contain peanuts.

2. Tree Nuts

According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, allergic reactions to tree nuts are among the leading cause of fatal and near-fatal reactions to foods. An estimated 1.8 million Americans are allergic to tree nuts. Coconuts, pistachios, brazil, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and cashews are all culprits. Like peanuts, people with tree nut allergy should avoid places where nuts are present and look closely at food labels for sauces, sweets, dressings, vegetarian food and honey.

1. Milk

Milk is the most common food allergy in small kids. The good news is that most children grow out of a milk allergy by age 3, only 1/5 of allergic children do not. Common allergens in cow’s milk are casein and whey; small amounts can trigger severe allergic reactions. In addition to cheeses, ice cream and milk-cased beverages, avoid deli meats as the slicer is also used to slice cheese.

While not exactly convenient, food allergies are manageable. It’s important to carefully read food labels and understand the extent of the allergy. Today, there are a number of baking substitutes and cooking alternatives for the most common food allergens. People with food allergies don’t have to feel deprived.


4 Responses to “Top 10 Common Food Allergies”

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  4. Jari Serra on February 29th, 2012 10:48 pm

    Cashews are not a tree nut. They are actually a fruit. They certainly can be an allergen, but they should not be listed with tree nuts in the top ten.