For some of us, eating or being exposed to certain types of food can cause our immune systems to act abnormally. Some of the most common allergic reactions to food can include an itchy mouth, outbreaks of hives or eczema, swollen lips, swelling within the throat, nasal congestion, abdominal pain, nausea, light-headedness and vomiting. Those of us who suffer an extreme allergic reaction to certain types of food may experience anaphylaxis.

Bread_400This serious reaction is associated with a number of symptoms, some of which have the potential to be life threatening. The closing of airways or swelling within the throat, as well as a rapid pulse, dizziness, and a rapid decrease in blood pressure are all symptoms associated with anaphylaxis. Anyone who experiences any of these symptoms as a result of ingesting a certain type of food should seek medical attention immediately.

The amount of admissions to hospital for anaphylaxis increasing by 500% between 1992 and 2012, and 10 people dying every year from this type of reaction. We should therefore be learning to pay close attention to the ingredients used in the foods we are eating to reduce the possibility of unknowingly consuming something that may cause an allergic reaction. To ensure you are in full possession of the facts, here is a list of some of the more common intolerances and the foods associated with them.

Dairy intolerance

An intolerance to dairy products is defined through an allergic reaction to a type of sugar called lactose. Lactose is found naturally in all kinds of mammalian milk, including cow, goat, and breast milk. An estimated 15% of the UK population suffer from a lactose intolerance, so it’s important to know what to avoid. Any dairy foods are off the menu as far lactose intolerance is involved. Milk, butter, cheese, and yoghurt all typically contain lactose. However, in recent years, there have been developments to make lactose free versions of all these products designed specifically to cater to those who suffer from lactose intolerance.

Vasoactive amines

There are a number of chemicals that naturally occur within certain food types known as vasoactive amines, which are known to cause allergic reactions. Some of these chemicals include histamine, tyramine, and phenylethylamine. Those of us who suffer from hayfever may take antihistamines to relieve the associated symptoms. For those of us who are allergic to these chemicals, the foods we should be looking to avoid include cured meats, coffee, chocolate, peanuts, oranges, bananas, blue cheeses, and tomatoes.

Yeast intolerance

Yeast is a form of single celled fungi that can be found in a number of foods. It is commonly used in food production, including baking, the production of alcohol, and within food stocks. If you suffer from an intolerance to yeast, it is imperative that you avoid all common types of bread and rolls, buns and donuts, as well as wine, beer, mayonnaise, chutneys, stock cubes, and Quron. There are specialist breads, stocks, and alcohols that are specifically made not to contain yeast.

Wheat and Gluten intolerance

A wheat intolerance is fairly self-explanatory. There are a great many food products that contain the proteins collectively known as gluten, but recently, food manufacturers have increased the amount of gluten free products available on the market. If you are unsure, the foods to avoid that commonly contain wheat and gluten include breads, baked goods, pasta, cereals, sauces, and salad dressings.

It is important for us to be able to distinguish the foods that have the potential to cause allergic reactions. Luckily there are extensive resources available online that we can use to guide us into making informed decisions about our diet. As mentioned before, the amount of people in the UK who suffer from food related allergies has been increasing dramatically, meaning that it is now more important than ever for us to pay attention to the foods we consume. As food retailors diversify their shelves with new, global food products, taking that extra time to read the ingredients list could prevent you from suffering from a violent allergic reaction. It could save your life.

Content supplied by AXA PPP 


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