8 Most Common Food Allergies

A food allergy reaction occurs when your immune system overreacts to a food or a substance in a food, identifying it as a danger and triggering a protective response. 

90 percent of all food allergies are related to one of these eight foods, 

Common food Allergens:

  1. Milk: It is one of the most common food allergens. People with an allergy to cow’s milk may also be allergic to milk from other animals, including sheep and goats. One who is allergic to milk may experience the symptoms like, Hives, stomach, Vomiting, Bloody stools, especially in infants. Avoidance of milk or items containing milk products is the only way to manage a milk allergy. Milk is an easy ingredient to substitute in recipes. Most recipes calling for milk can be successfully substituted by equivalent amount of water, juice, or soy or rice milk. If your infant is allergic to milk, talk to your paediatrician about which formula to use. Often, an extensively hydrolysed elemental formula or a casein-hydrolysate formula is recommended for milk allergy in infants, as the proteins in these formulas have been extensively broken down. You can also opt for a soy-based formula. If you suffer digestive problems after eating or drinking dairy products, try tracking your diet and noting how your body reacts to the items you consume & substitute.
  2. Soy: Reactions to soy can be found among individuals. Severe reactions can occur, though they are rare. Children who are allergic to soy may also be allergic to milk. It triggered by a protein in soybeans or soybean-containing products. The symptoms can range from an itchy, tingly mouth and runny nose to a rash and asthma or breathing difficulties. In rare cases, a soy allergy can also cause anaphylaxis. If you have a soy allergy, the only treatment is the removal of soy from your diet.
  3. Egg: Egg allergy is the second most common cause of food allergy in children.  The proteins that trigger an allergy are found in egg whites, so an egg white allergy is more common. The good news is according to a study it was found that around 70% of children with an egg allergy could tolerate eating biscuits or cakes containing a cooked egg component. The treatment is an egg-free diet. However, some people may be able to reintroduce some foods containing cooked eggs into their diet.
  4. Wheat: More common in children and rare in adults. Approximately 20 percent of children who are allergic to wheat will be allergic to other grains as well. Check with your allergist if foods containing barley, rye, or oats are okay to eat. Many kids mostly outgrow a wheat allergy by the age of 3 years. In case of Celiac disease, one requires avoidance of gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and contaminated oat products. Many individuals with celiac disease follow a wheat-free diet but must also avoid other sources of gluten.
  5. Peanut:  Allergy to peanut is very common and can cause severe and potentially fatal allergic reactions. Those with peanut allergies are often also allergic to tree nuts. While the reason people develop a peanut allergy isn’t known, it is thought that people with a family history of peanut allergies are most at risk. Like other allergies, a peanut allergy is diagnosed using a combination of patient history, skin prick testing, blood tests and food challenges. Now, the only effective treatment is complete avoidance of peanuts and peanut-containing products. However, new treatments are being developed for children with peanut allergies. These involve giving precise and small amounts of peanuts under strict medical supervision to desensitize them to the allergy.
  6. Tree nut: Examples of tree nuts include, Brazil nuts, Almonds, Cashews, Macadamia nuts, Pistachios, Pine nuts, Walnuts etc. Tree nut allergy is accompanied with allergy to food products made with these nuts, such as nut butters and oils. The risk of anaphylactic reaction to tree nuts is higher than that to milk, egg, or wheat. Tree nuts can be found in cereals, crackers, cookies, candy, chocolates, and some cold cuts. Pesto is a common pasta sauce that includes pine nuts or walnuts. You will also find nut oils and nut meals in some products. Treatment includes a lifelong avoidance of all tree nuts and tree nut products.
  7. Fish:  Salmon, tuna, and halibut are the most common fish allergies. It is possible to be allergic to one type of fish species and not others. However, many individuals with a fish allergy are advised to avoid all fish. Aged fish (or fish that isn’t fresh) can produce a natural histamine which can trigger a reaction similar to a food allergic reaction. This is called scombroid poisoning and includes swelling of the mouth or throat, difficulty breathing, or nausea or vomiting after eating fish. People with a fish allergy should consult their allergist before taking fish oil dietary supplements. Allergists advise fish-allergic patients to treat symptoms of a reaction with epinephrine (adrenaline), which is prescribed by your doctor and administered in an auto-injector.
  8. Shellfish: There are two types of shellfish: crustacean (shrimp, crab, and lobster) and mollusks (clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops). Allergic reactions to crustacean shellfish are more common and tend to be severe. Most individuals who are allergic to shellfish are advised to avoid both kinds of shellfish. Avoid seafood restaurants as there is a high risk for cross-contamination, even if you don’t order a shellfish option. Fish sauce is often used in Asian restaurants as a flavouring. Avoid eating in such restaurants or at a minimum, use extreme caution. Shellfish proteins may become airborne during steaming so use precaution around kitchens where shellfish is being cooked.

Because of the danger posed to those who are allergic to these foods, companies are required to display allergy warnings on their ingredients list.

Below are some less common food allergies:

  • Linseed
  • Sesame seed
  • Peach
  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Passion fruit
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Mustard seeds
  • Aniseed
  • Chamomile


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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