Allergens in food

People are increasingly following dietetic novelties. Currently, the so-called allergen fashion. Many well-known people from the fitness industry are in favor of excluding allergens from the diet. Among other things, it is said that the consumption of gluten brings with it the same negative effects, and dairy products are pure evil, so it is best to eliminate these products from the diet. However, this is not entirely correct. Of course, some people are allergic to certain products or ingredients. Then, the use of a diet with the exclusion of an allergen is justified. But is it worth blindly following the fashion and excluding from the diet products that are widely regarded as allergens? Is it better to reach for the products we want and not to think about the health consequences?

Allergy and allergens
Allergy involves the occurrence of an immune reaction that is associated with the formation of antibodies that, when bound to the antigen, leading to the release of various substances that are so-called. mediators of inflammation. Symptoms of allergies are very diverse. There may be urticaria, angioneurotic edema, allergic stomatitis, gastro-oesophageal reflux, anaphylactic shock, allergic rhinitis, asthma, otitis media, chronic allergic reaction of the stomach and duodenum, and diarrhea. Of course, these symptoms relate only to people who are allergic to a given nutrient. Side effects after consumption of a given product should not occur in healthy people.

In Poland there is a list of products that can cause allergic reactions or intolerance reactions, these are
– cereals containing gluten, such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelled and their derived products;
– crustaceans and products thereof;
– eggs and derived products;
– fish and products derived thereof;
– groundnuts (peanuts) and derived products;
– soya and products thereof;
– milk and derived products;
– nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts and products thereof;
– celery and derived products;
– mustard and derived products;
– Sesame seeds and derived products;
– sulfur dioxide and sulfites in concentrations above 10 mg/kg or 10 ml / l based on the total SO2 content in the product;
– lupins and derived products;
– mollusks and derived products.

Types of allergic reactions
In adults, there are three types of reactions that can occur after ingestion of an allergen, they are

– immediate allergic reaction – clinical symptoms appear here immediately after ingestion of the allergen, maximum after 10 minutes. It can be both light urticaria and a serious anaphylactic shock;

– an allergic reaction of the cytotoxic type – the reaction develops in various tissues and organs. Antibodies are directed against antigens present on the body’s cells. There is a destruction of cells and activation of other mechanisms of the immune system;

– allergic-type of immune complexes – clinical symptoms may occur even after a few hours up to several days after ingestion of the allergen.

If you are diagnosed with an allergy to a particular nutrient, it is necessary to exclude it from the diet to avoid adverse symptoms. Of course, the allergy may manifest itself harmlessly, eg urticaria or skin irritation, but if the allergen is not eliminated from our diet despite the diagnosis of allergies, it is also possible to have more serious symptoms such as anaphylactic shock.

Elimination diet
The elimination diet is not only a way to detect which food component triggers an allergic reaction. It is also a way of treatment. When we find out which ingredient is allergic to our body, it is necessary to exclude it from the diet. After some time after the allergen has been discontinued, you can try to re-add it to meals, but remember to do it gradually and give it in small doses. If an allergic reaction does not occur, you can gradually increase the dose of the allergen. However, we do not need to re-enter the allergenic substance if the previous allergic reaction was quite strong.

In the elimination diet, attention should be paid to any shortages that may result from the complete elimination of a given product from the diet. Then, to avoid deficiencies, especially vitamins and minerals, it is worth reaching for products that are also a good source of this ingredient. The best solution will be to consult a dietitian.

Of course, the fact that we do not have any allergic reaction after eating food does not mean that we should not pay any attention to what we eat. It is particularly important to maintain common sense. If, for example, after eating eggs we feel flatulence and discomfort in the abdomen, it is worth reducing them in the diet. The most important is the pleasure of eating. However, if we decide to eliminate one of the products from the diet, it is worth paying attention to whether it will not cause deficiencies of vitamins and minerals. If this option arises, you may want to consider supplementing or increasing the supply of a given substance from other food products.

How to determine if you are dealing with allergies
Recently, avoiding products that are considered allergenic has become very popular. Too many people exclude certain products from their diet without a logical explanation. They follow the so-called allergen fashion. People from extremes go to extremes.

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However, before we completely decide to exclude a given allergen from your diet, it’s worth knowing your body. To do this, start a healthy, well-balanced diet. It should contain all necessary macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. If you are a newbie in the field of dietetics, you should take advantage of the pyramid of healthy nutrition and take physical activity. If you do not feel any negative symptoms when using such a diet, there are no grounds to exclude a given product from our daily menu.

However, if you observe disturbing symptoms such as rash, hives, runny nose, stomach pains, nausea, etc., it is worth considering introducing an elimination diet. For this purpose, it is best to go to a specialist who will diagnose the problem and help us balance the diet accordingly.

Allergen recognition is often based on trial and error. In the beginning, you should exclude from the diet the most allergenic products, such as milk, eggs or grains containing gluten. Such a diet should be carried out for several weeks until the symptoms disappear completely. You can then re-enter the product you removed from the diet, such as milk. If the symptoms return, it means that the product that causes us allergic reactions is milk. Once we know what product is allergy-giving to us, it is necessary to completely exclude it from the diet to minimize the risk of adverse symptoms.

Therefore, there are no medically valid arguments for which healthy, properly nourishing people would exclude from the diet any products commonly considered as allergenic. The start of the elimination diet is recommended only to people who have an adverse allergic reaction to a given product.

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