Food allergies are an abnormal response of the immune system. The body attacks the natural chemicals or substances within a food like protein. An allergic immune reaction can cause a range of symptoms that vary by person. Symptoms can also depend on the type of food allergy.
Millions of people live with common food allergies and other sensitivities. Whether it’s you or someone you care about, it’s helpful to understand more about them. In this guide, we’ll explain the common types of food allergies and which foods cause reactions. Explore products and ingredients such as dairy alternatives and baking chocolate that may be safer for you to enjoy if you have a food allergy.
1. Milk Allergy
Milk allergies are commonly referred to as dairy allergies. The most common dairy allergy involves cow’s milk, but it isn’t the only culprit. Allergies can happen from other types of milk like goat’s milk or milk from sheep. A milk allergy occurs when the immune system attacks the protein in milk or a milk product. Symptoms can include abdominal pain or gastrointestinal illness. Some people experience skin reactions or tingling in the throat. If you suspect a milk allergy, it’s important to look for signs of anaphylaxis. This life-threatening condition includes a sudden drop in blood pressure and other severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
If you have questions about serious reactions to allergies, talk to an allergy specialist.
Dairy-free ingredients like plant based chocolate and plant-based milk can make it easier to enjoy your favorite foods without worry or stress. Swap vegan butter for dairy butter in recipes. These days, plenty of baked goods feature delicious dairy alternatives that create tasty treats.
2. Egg Allergy
Egg allergies occur when the body overreacts to the proteins in egg yolks or egg whites. Chicken eggs are the most common culprit, but you can also have allergies to other types of eggs like quail or duck. Reactions to an egg allergy can occur when you eat the eggs or even when you touch them. Eggs are one of the more common food allergies in children. Many kids will outgrow their egg allergy, but some keep it into adulthood. Consuming eggs can cause unpleasant symptoms like stomach cramps and diarrhea if a person is allergic to eggs.
Look out for hives or rashes on the skin. More symptoms of an allergic reaction to eggs include swelling of the tongue or lips. Reactions like coughing or sneezing can also occur. Seek medical attention for signs of anaphylaxis from eggs, including dizziness or difficulty breathing. If you have an egg allergy, it’s best to avoid eggs entirely. Use vegan egg substitutes in your dishes or baked goods. Examples include flaxseeds and applesauce. Let others know about your allergies if they’re cooking for you.
3. Soy Allergy
A soy allergy is an overactive immune system response to soy protein. It’s a common allergy in children and babies, but anyone can develop soy allergies. With a soy allergy, the body sees soy proteins as a harmful invader. The bodily response to the proteins causes unpleasant symptoms. In rare situations, the reaction can lead to anaphylaxis.
There are many substitutes for soy sauce and other soy products. Try coconut aminos or Worcestershire sauce for a similar flavor. Instead of adding soy milk to your vegan recipe, you can swap it for plant-based milk like oat or almond. Many vegan chocolate bars and baking chocolates are soy free. Add delicious and organic ingredients to your baked goods without stress or worry.
4. Wheat Allergy
Did you feel itchy or have stomach pain after eating bread or pasta? How about after touching dough or using your favorite cosmetics? It may be time to see an allergist. Wheat and gluten allergies occur when the body becomes sensitized to this common grain. It’s possible to have an allergic reaction to wheat after ingesting it or touching it. Symptoms of gluten or wheat allergies include sneezing or a stuffy nose, along with skin vomiting or skin rash. Wheat allergies can cause serious symptoms, including throat tightness or difficulty breathing.
Avoid all products containing wheat or gluten ingredients if you have a wheat allergy. Explore gluten-free foods and menus. If a baking recipe calls for wheat flour, you can use buckwheat or millet instead. Some bakers keep amaranth and almond flour beside their baking essentials like cocoa powder and sugar.
5. Nut Allergy
Nut allergies include peanuts and tree nuts like walnuts or cashews. If you’re allergic to nuts, you can have a reaction whether the nuts are raw or processed. A nut allergy occurs when the body overreacts to nut proteins. If you have a nut allergy and consume even a tiny amount, you can experience symptoms like skin rash and hives. Other symptoms include:
•Tingling or tight throat
Like all the common allergies on this list, nut allergies can lead to anaphylaxis. Nuts are in many types of chocolate and baked goods, as well as popular trail mixes and granola bars. They are even in soup and veggie burgers. Always read ingredient lists for what gives you allergies, whether it’s peanuts or almonds.
Eating with Freedom Despite Food Allergies
These are some of the most common food allergies, but it’s also possible to be allergic to popular foods such as fish or sesame. When it comes to your health, listen to your instincts. If you experience unpleasant symptoms after eating certain food items, an allergist can help answer your questions.