What is food allergy?

Food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly identifies as harmful. Once the immune system decides that a particular food is harmful, it produces specific antibodies to it. When the individual eats this food next time, the body releases a large amount of histamines to protect the body. The allergy can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system and skin.

What are the common foods that produce allergy?

Vegetables, fruits and meat could be allergic; there are foods which account for 90% of all food allergies. These are milk, egg, groundnut, tree nut (cashew, walnut etc.), shellfish, fish, Soya bean and wheat.

Approximately 30% of the world population is suffering from allergies.

Food allergy:

• Adults, approximately 1% to 2%

• Children, approximately 2% to 8%

• In adolescence they come down approximately to 2%

• Allergies of our breathing system together, approximately 20%

• Prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs, approximately 10%
It is very important to know about the side effects of the medicines.

For further information please vide the book entitled ’The side effects of medicines’ by Dr. Kaniappan Padmanaban, www.aaronverlag.com).

What is gluten allergy?

Gluten is a protein consisting of a mixture of glentelin and gliadin, present in cereal grains, especially wheat, rye and barley. Gluten-sensitive enteropathy is an auto-immune disease of the intestine.

• Oats may be tolerated in small amount if the allergy is not very serious.

• Milk and dairy products are not tolerated by those persons who develop lactose intolerance frequently.

What are the foods recommended to a person who has gluten allergy?

The recommended foods include:

• Gluten free grains, breads, cereals, pastas

• Rice, corn, fermented soy, arrowroot, potato, and tapioca-containing products are all allowed.

• Breads may contain flour prepared from white or brown rice, potato, tapioca, arrowroot, pea, corn or bean.

• Cereals include those from corn meal, buckwheat, puffed rice and crisp rice.

• Pasta made of rice, corn and beans.

• Quinoa and Amaranth

• Malt or malt flavouring derived specifically from corn.

• Vegetables and Fruits

• Meats

Dairy Products:

• Aged hard cheeses pasteurized and processed cheeses including cottage cheese and cream cheese, and ice cream are free of gluten stabilizers. Most children tolerate little milk sugar containing milk and yogurt soon after starting a gluten-free diet.

Salad dressings, condiments and additives:

• Many salad dressings, condiments and additives are gluten-free, although there are a number that do contain gluten or wheat derivatives. Please read labels carefully. Apple, wine and rice vinegars are generally acceptable. If you are not sure do not eat it.

Drinks and Juices:

• Very few non-alcoholic drinks include gluten, do not drink unknown juices.

• Freshly brewed coffee, tea, chocolate made of powdered cocoa, carbonated drinks, and juices extracted from fresh fruits are preferred.

What foods must be avoided?

The foods not allowed include:

• Grains, Breads, Cereals, Pastas that contain a high proportion of gluten

• Anything made with wheat, barley, rye and oats. Breads or cereals containing wheat starch have small amount of gluten; as do cereals and crackers containing wheat and oat bran, graham and wheat germ. Cereals or breads containing malt flavouring of unspecified origin, regular spaghetti, macaroni, and wheat noodles contain gluten.

• Packed rice mixes contain gluten.

• Vegetables and Fruits – always find which one is good to you, avoid others

• Stay away from products containing thickening agents that utilize food starches and stabilizers with gluten. Thickening agents often contain wheat flour and are found in products like fruit pie fillings.

• Meats - prepared meats include luncheon meats, sausages, and canned meats containing grain and starch fillers with gluten.

• Even in freshly minced meat additives are used with gluten and it can be everywhere.

• Dairy Products:
cheese foods include spreads, soft cheeses, and dips often contain gluten.

• Some ice creams can contain gluten stabilizers. If there is no label or if you are not sure, avoid it.

• Salad dressings: These contain grain vinegars including distilled white vinegar if the type of vinegar is not stated. Some contain emulsifiers and stabilizers with gluten.

• Drinks and Juices:

Some brands of flavoured coffee, herbal tea, and instant cocoa mixes, including malted milk. Grain-derived drinks including ovaltine.

• Spices and additives

• Most soy sauces contain gluten

• Soups or broths containing bouillon, unspecified texturized or hydrolyzed vegetable protein, vegetable gum from oats and any other product containing an unspecified flour or cereal, barley malt, wheat starch and caramel candy may contain gluten.

Other potential harmful ingredients are as follows:

• Modified food starch
• Unidentified starch
• Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
• Texturized vegetable protein
• Binders, fillers and extenders
• Natural flavourings

What is the truth about gluten und medicines?

If a medicine is not declared ‘gluten free’ on its label, it can be dangerous.

In prescription and over-the-counter drugs, fillers or inactive ingredients or excipients are added to the active drug. These provide shape and bulk for tablets and capsules so that you think are worth for your money. They can be from any starch source such as potatoes, tapioca, wheat and corn.

What about bakery products?

If a bakery product is not declared ‘gluten free’, it is dangerous. Here also it is used to keep up the form of cakes and other baked biscuits. You must be careful always. It is not different in processed foods.

What are the symptoms of food allergy?

The common symptoms include:

• Swelling of the throat and tongue, difficulty in breathing
• Abdominal cramps
• Vomiting,
• Diarrhoea,
• Low blood pressure,
• Loss of consciousness and death.

The symptoms appear within minutes to two hours. But in extreme cases, it could be more than two hours.

What is the treatment for food allergy?

One must avoid these foods very strictly and eat no unknown food from any source.

Is there any medicine for food allergies?

Adrenaline is the medicine of choice to control the reaction and thereby the symptoms. There are no medicines to cure food allergies currently. As told, strict avoidance is the only way to prevent food allergies. You must go for a counselling to know healthy foods for you. It is possible to manage your life as usual. Antihistaminic drugs are also here useful.

Is it possible to find food allergies in blood?

Yes, it is possible to find the allergic food by conducting the blood test.

Is it possible to have allergy-free diet?

It is easy to find out but very time consuming. Food can stay in body for a period of maximum four days. So eat some of your favourite food and wait for four days and if there are no symptoms, this food is good. During this time you should not eat any known allergic food. Like this you can test all your food and have a big collection of allergy-free food. It takes time, but improves your life quality.

Everything is possible if you have the will.

Read Dr. K. Padmanaban’s “Food and our Health – Facts and Misconceptions”. www.aaronverlag.com