Your immune system interprets a food protein or other element as a danger when you have a food allergy. 90% or thereabouts of all food allergies are caused by eight different food types:
- Tree nuts, like cashews and walnuts
It’s possible that you’ve enjoyed shrimp your entire life before having an allergic response one day that seems to come out of nowhere because food allergies can manifest in adulthood.
Symptoms typically appear between 30 minutes to two hours of consuming food to which you are allergic.
A rapid immunological response is induced when you consume the problematic meal, claims Jaeger.
If epinephrine or adrenaline injections are not administered right away, this type of reaction could be lethal.
For instance, consuming even a small amount of peanuts or soy could cause anaphylaxis, a swift and severe reaction. This may consist of:
- A rash or hives.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat.
- Wheezing or trouble breathing.
You may hear people refer to both food sensitivities and intolerances as belonging to the same category. Jaeger separates them.
Food sensitivities Although it is an immunological reaction, she explains that it happens much more slowly than an allergy and frequently results from a gastrointestinal tract imbalance.
Mild allergic reactions can mimic symptoms of food sensitivities:
- Brain fog.
- Flushed skin.
- Joint or muscle pain.
- Headaches or migraines.
- Stuffy or runny nose.
The onset of symptoms is not usually instantaneous. In actuality, problems may not show up for three days.
The disparity of good versus bad bacteria in one’s gastrointestinal tract is frequently to blame. Because of the delay, it can be challenging to correlate symptoms with a particular food.
Symptoms of Food Sensitivity
Depending on the nature and intensity of the sensitivity, food sensitivity symptoms might differ significantly from one patient to the next. The most common signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Stomach pain
- Excess gas
- Acid reflux/heartburn
- Skin flushing
- Irritability or anxiety
The severity of the symptoms tends to rise as food consumption does. They could start out slowly or suddenly, and in some situations, they might linger for days.
Difference Between Food Sensitivity and Food Allergy
- It can be difficult to tell the difference between a true food allergy and a food sensitivity because some symptoms can overlap.
- When determining whether a person has a food sensitivity, it’s important to keep two things in mind:
- Sensitivities frequently cause the gastrointestinal tract or digestive system to respond, which can result in a variety of stomach distress and pain.
- Small amounts can frequently be ingested without triggering symptoms in those with food sensitivities.
- Food sensitivity is not life-threatening, but it is undoubtedly uncomfortable and bothersome in and of itself.
Anaphylaxis cannot be triggered by food sensitivity, regardless of the amount of the offending food consumed.
On the other hand, a food allergy sets off an immune system response, causing the body to respond as though to a threat by releasing antibodies (IgE).
Even modest quantities can result in severe or even fatal reactions.
Food allergies can be fatal, and persons who have them must always keep 2 epinephrine autoinjectors.
This is the key distinction between them and food sensitivities.
Making an anaphylaxis care plan for family members and friends is a recommended best practice for people with food allergies to enable prompt action in case of sudden contact or ingestion.
A board-certified allergist can help you figure out whether your symptoms are due to food sensitivity or something more serious by conducting a consultation with you.
How to manage your body’s reactions to food
It can be challenging to identify the cause of your symptoms and prevent them in the future.
But if you’ve determined the cause or causes of your problems, here are some tips for preventing and treating your symptoms:
Eliminate the aggravating items from your diet: Avoidance is the greatest prevention technique for keeping most allergies and intolerances in check. In other words, avoid the things that make you uncomfortable.
Over-the-counter medication: In some circumstances, over-the-counter medications can help with milder cases of food sensitivity.
You can occasionally enjoy dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream without experiencing any side effects if you have lactose intolerance thanks to over-the-counter solutions like Lactaid®.
Carry an auto-injector for epinephrine: Carry an epinephrine auto-injector if you know you have an allergy to a certain food.
Always carry an auto-injector, such as the AUVI-Q® or EpiPen®, and make sure you and those closest to you are familiar with its use.
Genes, food sensitivity, and food allergies
Although further research is required, studies have found strong evidence that children are more likely to have food allergies if one or both of their relatives do.
Food sensitivities can be acquired over time or can be inherited.
Causes of food allergies
Food allergies frequently manifest themselves early in life, especially in relation to foods like milk, almonds, eggs, and soy. This isn’t always a sure thing, though, as certain allergies can occasionally manifest later in life. Research indicates that giving high-risk infants possibly allergic foods early on may help prevent peanut allergies. Discuss your worries with your allergist.
With time, food sensitivities may also intensify or develop. Again, lactose intolerance is an example that is frequently used: “As you age, your body may generate less of the enzyme that aids in the digestion of lactose in dairy products.