Life is so busy these days, it’s hard to balance all of your responsibilities and pay attention to what you eat, especially if you have allergies. Some allergies are severe, like swelling, itching or irritation of the throat. Other common severe allergy symptoms include hives, nasal congestion, nausea and in some cases, anaphylaxis. However, not all food allergies are severe, but they cause enough discomfort, such as bloating, low energy, or headaches that we often mistake food based allergies for just feeling run-down. Here are some of the top foods that contain allergens you should watch out for:
Wheat allergies occur when your body produces antibodies to proteins contained in wheat. Usually this occurs through eating wheat, but in rare cases these allergies can be triggered by inhaling wheat flour, so if you know you have a severe wheat allergy it’s best to avoid situations where wheat flour is being used.
Some common foods containing wheat are bread, cakes and muffins, breakfast cereals, pasta, crackers, soy sauce, processed meat such as hot dogs, and even natural flavorings.
Milk allergies are one of the most common food allergies in children, and luckily most outgrow it by adolescence. However, this allergy also affects adults and, in fact, millions of Americans with dairy allergies don’t realize they have them unless the reactions are severe. The two main proteins in milk that cause reactions are casein and whey, which are also used as additives in many foods. Avoiding milk and milk products is the simplest and most effective plan here.
Some foods that may trigger milk allergies are cow’s milk of any form, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and cheese. Milk as an additive is often a hidden form of allergy causing dairy, and some foods that contain these products are protein powders, artificial butter and cheese flavors, any ingredient spelled with the prefix “lact” - such as lactose and lactate - and even candies like chocolate, nougat, and caramel.
As with most allergens, reactions to tree nuts can range from mild to severe, and even life-threatening. You can be allergic to just one type of nut, or to many, so it’s best to get tested to know for sure what you need to avoid.
Common tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and pine nuts. These nuts are used in all kinds of foods because they are known to have good nutritional profiles. Unfortunately for people with tree nut allergies, this means you are more likely to come into contact with them unintentionally.
Nuts will usually be labelled clearly in ingredient lists, however there are some hidden sources of tree nuts including cookies, cereals, crackers, energy and protein bars, candy, chocolates, ice creams, flavored coffees, and alcoholic beverages and liqueurs. Additionally, watch out for personal products that also use nuts commonly, like lotions, shampoos, perfumes, and soaps.
Here’s a big one. Soy is hard to get away from because it is one of the most prominently used ingredients in food production. Allergic reactions to soy include hives or itching in and around the mouth, swelling of the lips, tongue and face, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting as well as anaphylaxis.
Products that may contain soy range from meat products, bakery goods, and chocolate, to breakfast cereals, all types of condiments, and common vegan meat and cheese replacements such as tofu, and tempeh. Avoid foods that are made with hydrolyzed vegetable and plant protein, textured vegetable protein, monodiglyceride, monosodium glutamate, and natural and artificial flavorings.
Shellfish (including crustaceans and mollusks).
It’s thought that up to 2.5 percent of people in the U.S. have a shellfish allergy, which includes crustaceans and mollusks. This allergy is more common in adults than children and affects slightly more women than men. Symptoms range from mild to severe and include hives, facial swelling as well as other parts of the body, wheezing, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and anaphylaxis.
Types of shellfish to avoid include crabs, lobster, crayfish, shrimp and prawn, squid, snails, clams, oysters, and scallops. If you have a shellfish allergy, be cautious when dining out and make sure to ask if shellfish is prepared on the same station as any other food because cross-contamination is a common source of reactions here. Read labels carefully and maintain distance if you’re eating with others enjoying shellfish.
Avoid Allergens with All Clean Food
Getting tested for allergies and understanding your individual risks with certain foods, as well as reading food labels carefully are good methods for allergy prevention. Until recently, choosing safe and healthy foods for people with allergies has been yet another full-time responsibility. By choosing All Clean Foods you can avoid all of the most common allergens while eating organic, clean, and totally delicious meals. Our foods don’t contain any junk or fillers, ensuring worry-free and nutritious meals for you and your family. Find one of the many markets that stock our products, or shop our full range at Allcleanfood.com.