Food-allergies and nutrition

Do you or someone in your family suffer from a food allergy? About 95 per cent of all food allergies can be accounted for by milk, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, nuts, and wheat.

Besides these major food allergies, there is another compound added to foods called sulfites. This ingredient does not always cause a reaction but it can promote severe reactions in some people, especially those with asthma.

How do you know you have a food allergy? If you have a true food allergy, you’re going to have symptoms whether it is on the skin like a rash, hives, gastrointestinal symptoms, even wheezing or coughing within minutes to an hour of eating that food.

Food manufacturers are finally realising the increasing numbers of food allergies today, and as a result, we are seeing more and more food alternatives available in the supermarkets.

If you have a dairy allergy, you can buy soy beverages, rice and almond beverages. Keep in mind that the only dairy alternate that would have the same amount of protein as cow’s milk would be the soy milk beverage.

Also, ensure calcium doesn’t take a back seat by choosing a beverage that supplies at least 30 per cent the Daily Value (which is listed as ‘D.V’ no packs). There are also dairy-free margarines as well as soy and rice-based yogurts.

If you have an egg allergy, baking can be challenging. Here’s a great tip: to replace one egg in a recipe combine one tablespoon ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water. For mayonnaise, there are egg-free products like Vegan-naise.

If you have a wheat allergy there are many different products available. Arrowroot flour can be used to thicken sauces and gravies. There are wheat-free crackers like rye crisp breads, rice crackers, even crackers made with nuts (Nut-thins). As far as pastas go, there is an enormous variety today available including brown rice pasta, corn pasta, and quinoa pasta.

Frozen ready-made pizzas are now available as rice-based (and dairy-free). You can even find frozen rice-based pizza crust to make your own homemade pizza. Wheat-free cereals are now not a challenge to find; the varieties available today tell us that a bowl of cereal for breakfast is no longer impossible.

Can you prevent food allergies? If you have a family history of food allergies you might be able to prevent them in your children if you take a few precautions: breastfeed for at least a year, don’t eat milk, eggs, and nuts (high allergen foods) during breastfeeding, and delay the introduction of these foods in your children’s diet.

In other words, don’t give egg or milk to your child until after one year of age, and peanuts (or peanut butter) until at least three years of age or later.

It’s speculated that if you introduce these foods too soon in your child’s diet (before their gastrointestinal tract is fully developed) it can promote an allergy. This is more important if you have a family history of allergies, or even an allergic disease like eczema or asthma.

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