Posted by Dr. Sania Siddiqui on March 12, 2010
A run-down on the foods that most commonly trigger allergic reactions in people.

Keep a close watch on what you eat, if you are allergic to certain food items. Here are some common food items people are generally allergic to:

1. Peanuts
Peanuts are among the most common allergy causing foods. People who are allergic to peanuts can also be allergic to other tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, and cashews. This is because the proteins found in peanuts are similar in structure to those in tree nuts.

Common Hidden Sources: Some sauces, candy, chocolate, sunflower seeds, and nut butters.

2. Eggs
When a person is allergic to eggs, the body's immune system overreacts to proteins present in it. Egg allergy usually first appears when kids are very young, and most kids outgrow it by the time they are five-year-old.

For people who are especially sensitive to eggs, even egg fumes or getting egg on the skin can cause an anaphylactic reaction.

Common Hidden Sources: Ice creams, pastas, egg substitutes, breads, candies, hot dogs, meatballs, rolls and other baked goods, mayonnaise, and marshmallows.

3. Milk
Children who have this allergy are the worst sufferers, as most of the desserts and even meals contain milk or milk products.

Milk allergy is often confused with “milk intolerance”. In milk allergy, immune system reacts to the protein in milk, where as in lactose (milk) intolerance, the digestive system doesn’t take the milk too well and there is a problem in the digestion process.

Common Hidden Sources: Chocolates, deli meats, burgers, sorbets, canned tuna, non-dairy creamers, breads and rolls, salad dressings, and mayonnaise.

4. Fish
Among all food allergies, fish allergy causes most severe and dangerous symptoms.

Snapper, pollock, salmon, tune, cod, eel, and tilapia are among the fishes that commonly trigger fish allergies.

Common Hidden Sources: Caesar salad dressings, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, caviar, and imitation seafood often used in sushi.

5. Shellfish
People who are sensitive to shellfish can react to a number of others in its category, such as shrimps, prawns, lobsters, crabs, crayfish, oysters, and scallops.

According to experts, those who are allergic to fish need to be aware of cross-contamination risks of eating fish and other seafood.

Not indulging in any kind of seafood is the safest bet for them.

Common Hidden Sources: Fish stocks and flavorings (anything labeled "natural and/or artificial flavorings" may contain fish by-products).

6. Soy
This allergy is a comparatively milder one among the lot and children are known to outgrow it over the time.

Soy allergic people should avoid soymilk, tofu, soy sauce, soybeans, soy protein isolate, soy nuts, and TVP or textured vegetable protein (defatted soy flour).

Common Hidden Sources: Several vegetarian products, tuna, deli meats, vegetable broth, vegetable starch, sauces, soups, textured vegetable protein, cereals, and infant formulas.

7. Gluten or Wheat
Gluten is found in wheat and its products. Wheat based breads, pastas and other baked goods can be considered dangerous to a person with gluten allergy.

Wheat breads, pastas, cereals, wheat germ, wheat berries, semolina (a type of wheat used to make pasta), and other baked products.

Common Hidden Sources: Breadcrumbs, hot dogs, ice creams, potato chips, deli meats, french fries, soy sauce, and other processed snacks.

If you are suffering from any such food allergy, then it requires you to be aware of what you're eating. Read the food labels carefully. It might seem a lot of work, but it’s every bit worth it.

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