Food allergies are reactions to the different foods that we consume. Not all people are allergic to some sort of food or food product. Everyone, at some point, during their lives will have a bad experience with food. But things like food poisoning, or intolerances to certain food products should not be confused with food allergies. Allergic reactions can vary from being very mild to extremely life threatening.
How Do Food Allergies Develop?
There are several factors that can lead to food allergies. There are two main elements in the body that can cause an allergic reaction to food. One element is cells called mast cells found throughout the entire body. The other element is a protein antibody found in the body called immunoglobulin E. Both of these elements are found in the immune system.
What happens is the first time you eat a food you have an allergy for, the body’s immune system goes to work to rid the body of the non-harmful allergens that the body could not digest. For some reason a person with food allergies, their body’s immune system thinks it is fighting off an infection.
Now the body remembers this and the next time you eat the food again, that is when you have an allergic reaction to that food. You may be allergic to certain foods that you have never consumed and may not have any idea that you have an allergy.
Another way that food allergies develop is from heredity. If our parents have specific food allergies, there is a good chance that we will inherit that same allergy from them.
How to Tell If We Have Food Allergies
Part of the problem in determining all the foods you could be allergic to, you must first consume the food at least once. There are a series of blood tests that can be performed by your health care provider to test tolerances and allergies to foods.
These tests take a sample of the blood and mix it with a particular food. The test checks for reactions to the food and watches to see if histamine and antibodies are released as a result. If they are, then you have an allergy to that food.
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