Food allergies are typically triggered by the eight common food allergens such as tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, milk, shellfish, wheat, fish and soy. A variety of processed foods contains one or more of these ingredients, but any ingredient or food can be considered as the culprit. If an individual experiences an allergic reaction to any processed food, a doctor should be consulted so that allergy testing will be carried out.
Close look on food allergies
It is important to note that food allergies are instigated when the body perceives a specific food as a threat. Understandably, this stirs up a response by the immune system which generates histamine along with other chemicals to fight off the alleged threat.
Food allergies usually trigger gastrointestinal symptoms. The typical symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating and nausea. Food allergies are oftentimes confused with food intolerance which has similar GI-related symptoms but not instigated by the immune system and not potentially dangerous as food allergies. Remember that a severe case of food allergy can trigger the body to go into a state of shock that can be deadly.
Processed foods often contain one or several of the eight major food allergens linked with food allergies, particularly milk, wheat and soy. The processing of some of these foods can diminish their potential to trigger an allergic reaction but most allergens stay stable after the processing and instigate an allergic response among sensitive individuals.
It is also possible that another component or ingredient present in processed foods such as preservative or spice can cause a reaction. A good example of a well-known allergen is sulfite which is preservative oftentimes used in canned goods and other processed goods.
Testing for allergy
It is important to note that isolation of the allergen is the initial step in managing an allergy. The doctor can utilize several testing methods to determine the exact cause of the allergy. This typically includes blood tests as well as tests that involve applying allergens to the skin to check for a reaction.
The testing should only be done under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. The individual is also instructed to avoid certain foods at some point to check if it eliminates any symptoms. Just remember that this should not be started by the individual alone since it can lead to unwanted dietary limitations and poor nutrition.
At the present, there is no cure for food allergies but avoidance of the potential allergen can help prevent future reactions. Remember that this can be a challenge when it comes to processed foods since many common allergens are present in foods that might not be typically linked with them.
Wheat is often present in ketchup and ice cream. With this in mind, reading the labels carefully goes a long way in avoiding an allergic reaction. Manufacturers are required to list any of the 8 major food allergens on the labelling clearly. Nevertheless, some ingredients can change so reading the labels is a must. If the individual is uncertain regarding the ingredients in a particular processed food, it is best to contact the manufacturer for any clarifications.