Food allergy is an immune system reaction which causes the body to react unusually to a particular food. The reaction happens even if you consume a tiny amount of the specific food. The reaction gets manifested with some highly pronounced symptoms. It mostly affects children below three years of age and people above 60 years of age. However, children outgrow this as they get older.
Though in most cases food allergy reaction is mild, it may sometimes, lead to life-threatening reactions known as anaphylaxis.
Based on the symptoms, food allergies are divided into three types, namely:
- IgE-mediated food allergy caused by an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).
- Non-IgE-mediated food allergy caused by other cells in the immune system.
- A third type of allergy caused by a mix ofIgE and non-IgE-mediated food allergies.
IgE-mediated food allergy is the most common form of allergy.
Most Common Foods That Cause Allergies
Food allergies mostly occur when a person having genetic sensitivity to certain allergens is exposed to them through foods containing them. Some common foods that can lead to allergy include:
- Shrimp, crab, and lobster.
- Walnuts, almonds, and pecans.
- Fruits like pineapple, strawberries, melons, and other tropical fruits.
- Vegetables like brinjal, tomatoes etc.
- Non-veg items like fish, eggs etc.
- Food additives such as thickeners, dyes, and preservatives.
- Milk and other dairy products.
- Wheat and corn products.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Food Allergy?
Food allergy is marked by the following symptoms.
- Itching in the mouth.
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat or other parts of the body.
- An itchy red rash on the skin.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Wheezing, nasal congestion or shortness of breath.
- Feeling dizzy and lightheaded.
- Feeling of nausea or vomiting tendency.
- Dizziness or fainting.
- Abdominal pain or diarrhea.
- Hay fever-like symptoms, such as sneezing or itchy eyes .
If an allergic reaction is severe it may lead to a condition called anaphylaxis. This can be life-threatening and is accompanied with symptoms like:
- Constriction of the wind pipe.
- A swollen throat making it difficult to breathe.
- Sudden drop in blood pressure.
- Rapid rise in heartbeat.
- Loss of consciousness.
Herbal Remedies To Treat Food Allergies
There are a wide variety of herbs that can help ameliorate if not cure the person of food allergies. Some of these include:
If the food allergy induces digestive symptoms such as gas, diarrhea and or mild stomach pain the following home medication can give some relief:
- Marshmallow and licorice – soothes the mucous membranes.
- Chamomile – has anti-inflammatory properties and relaxes the bowels.
- Fennel – eliminates gas and helps in producing more digestive enzymes.
- Peppermint can relieve gas and intestinal spasms.
Bile herbs help to eliminate potentially allergenic substances and make the liver work more efficiently. Some well-known bile herbs include
- Burdock root
- Licorice and ginger root (fresh or dried)
- Artichoke leaf
These herbs can be taken separately or can be blend to make a tea.
A yet another good remedy to cure food allergy is “bitters”. They boost the immune system associated with the digestive tract. Some well-known bitters include:
- Artichoke leaves
- Orange peel
- Ginger and fennel
- Cardamom seed
Though home remedies work effectively to heal mild food allergy symptoms, you should always be aware of the food they are allergic to and strictly keep it away from their diet.