Currently, there are about 160 known food allergens that cause allergies. Most food allergens are proteins.
They are found in some foods (peanuts, cow’s milk, eggs), while in other foods only one allergenic protein is dominant (for example, cod). Most children (76%) are allergic to 3 or more food proteins.
When we talk about foods that cause allergies, we need to understand that fats and carbohydrates are not allergens in themselves, but in combination with protein (for example, glycoproteins) can cause allergic reactions. Mineral salts, including trace elements, are not allergens.
Highly allergenic foods
Foods that have a sensitizing effect often cause allergies.
- whole milk.
- fish (fresh, salted, smoked).
- Seafood (shrimps, crabs, crustaceans), caviar.
- wheat, rye.
- strawberries, mangoes, persimmons, melons, bananas
- carrots, tomatoes, celery, and bell peppers.
- coffee, cocoa.
- Nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, and others).
You may be allergic to all types of milk or fish, or only one type (for example, cow’s milk or herring).
Allergy to chicken egg proteins is more common when eggs are combined with chicken meat and broth in the diet.
The allergenic properties of chicken egg whites are more pronounced than those of egg yolks. Allergies to sea fish are more common than to river fish, but children in most cases react to all types of fish.
Wheat flour contains more than 40 allergens, so it is the most common source of allergies in children. Allergies to barley and oats are less common, and rice, according to some experts, affects up to 50% of the children surveyed.
Some researchers have observed a high incidence of banana allergy – about 80% of children.
The following foods are of medium allergenicity:
- beef, chicken, chicken, and other poultry broth.
- buckwheat, oats, rice.
- peas, beans, soybeans
- potatoes, beets, and turnips.
- apricots, peaches.
- Cranberries, lingonberries, blueberries.
- cherries, black currants, rose hips.
Products with low allergenicity:
- dairy products.
- Rabbit meat, turkey, lean pork, lean lamb.
- pearl barley, corn, millet.
- cauliflower and white cabbage, broccoli
- zucchini, squash, and cucumbers.
- parsley, dill.
- white and green varieties of apples and pears.
- yellow plum varieties.
- white currants.
- white and yellow cherries.
It should be remembered that allergic reactions can be caused by beer, smoked sausage, mayonnaise, horseradish, mustard, pepper, and various marinades.
Often, food allergies occur to 2-3 or more foods at the same time.
Allergic reactions can be caused by foods containing dyes, preservatives, flavorings, emulsifiers; antibiotics, sulfonamide drugs (milk, meat, poultry); residual amounts of fertilizers and pesticides (in vegetables, fruits, cereals); substances that migrate from containers and packaging (polymeric, metal) to various foods; fungal (microorganism) enzymes, mold allergens, and others.
When transferring a child to artificial feeding with formula, the main allergen is recognized as the basis of these substitutes – cow’s milk, which, according to some sources, contains up to 20, and according to others – up to 40 allergens (casein, lactoalbumin, lactoglobulin, etc.), most often causing the formation of specific antibodies.
We should not forget about the possibility of cross-reactions to food allergens due to the identity or similarity of their antigenic structures. Cross-allergy can also manifest itself in the following way: if flower pollen causes sensitization in a patient, then eating raw vegetables and fruits can cause pollen-food and nasopharyngeal allergy.
In preschool and school-age children, household fungal allergies can develop against the background of food allergies.
It is important to emphasize that the body’s resistance (tolerance) to most allergenic foods increases with age. However, this practice does not apply to fish, seafood, and nut allergens.
Some allergists believe that if a food allergy has not disappeared by the age of 5, it will occur in older children and even adults. After this period, there is no hope for the development of tolerance.
It is very important in early childhood (up to 5 years) to feed children with food allergies only natural products with a minimum content of various food additives, artificial colors, and flavors, as well as food contaminants. In this case, the chances of maintaining it in adulthood are significantly reduced.
It is also worth mentioning a specific form of food allergy that manifests itself in the development of allergic reactions up to anaphylactic shock, mainly after eating food and subsequent intense physical training.