Common Food Allergies

1Common Food AllergiesFood allergies come from an immune system response whereby the body “thinks” a particular food is harmful.  Ninety percent of all food-allergic reactions come from eight main food categories.  These are:

  1. eggs
  2. fish
  3. milk
  4. peanuts
  5. shellfish
  6. soy
  7. tree nuts (such as walnuts or cashews)
  8. wheat

2Common Food AllergiesManaging allergy triggers

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to manage your allergic reactions to certain types of foods.

Milk can be easily substituted in baking with equal parts of water or fruit juice.  Be careful to avoid casein, which is a milk derivative and may be hidden in things like canned tuna fish or other non-dairy products.  Always read your labels carefully!

Eggs can also be substituted in baking with 1 1/2 tbsp. water, 1 1/2 tbsp. oil and 1 tsp. baking powder when you need 1 to 3 eggs for a recipe.  Watch for egg substitutes that may contain egg whites or even foam or milk toppings for specialty coffees.

3Common Food AllergiesPeanuts are used in many chinese, mexican, thai and vietnamese dishes, so be careful of these and always ask about the ingredients when you’re out at a restaurant.  However, 20% of children tend to outgrown this allergy.

Tree nuts are used in foods such as barbeque sauces, ice cream, cereals or crackers.  Most tree nut-allergic people are also advised to avoid peanuts, just as an extra precaution.

Fish can be found in caesar or other types of salad dressings, steak sauce or even imitation crab meat.  If you know for a fact that you are allergic to one specific type of fish but would like to include fish in your diet, you should see your doctor and allergist first to make sure you are not allergic to all types of fish.

Shellfish allergies have been reported in both children and adults.  You should apply the same rules to shellfish as you would to any other type of fish or fish product.

Soy has become so widely used in processed foods that it is tricky to know which products contain soy or soy oil.  You should always consult your physician to see what foods he or she recommends for this type of allergy.

Wheat can be substituted when baking by mixing several types of flour.  You may want to try rice, corn or soy flour.  But be sure to consult your physician before you start experimenting.

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