8 Most Common Food Allergies and How to Avoid Them

Do you know what you are eating, and how it may affect your body? In reality, food allergies are a lot more common than most people believe.  Though many people grow out of their childhood allergies, there are still many adults who grow up suffering from certain foods or later develop an allergy to something once they hit their 20's and 30's.  Do you know what the most common food allergies are and how to avoid them?  With college cafeterias and always eating on the go, it is hard to always know what you are eating.  The first step to being aware is knowing what the most common food allergies are.

The group of foods known as the “big eight” (milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts from trees, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat) are the most common foods people can be allergic to.  Though any allergic reaction can be harmful to your body, there are some that usually have a greater impact than the others.

Fruits and Vegetables:
Foods such as fruits and vegetables tend to cause people to have a more mild reaction than others.  Usually if you are allergic to these things, you will just have to deal with a rash whereever the food came in contact with your body.  This isn’t good for your body, but you’ll most likely live to tell the story. Typically, you know you're in trouble if your mouth starts feeling itchy.  Keep a box of Bendryl on hand and make sure to immediately take a dose if you experience an allergic symptoms.

Nut Allergies:
If you are one of the people in this world who has a nut allergy, it will most likely last for your whole lifetime.  Reactions to nuts are a lot more severe than many other allergies, and can even cause death.  It is important for people with nut allergies to be aware and educated on how to stay away from the many things nuts are in.  For some, it is so severe that they can not even eat foods that have touched machines nuts were processed in. A nut allergy can effect respitory breathing, so invest in an EpiPen (i.e. epinephrine auto-injector for anaphylatic emergencies) to carry with you at all times, wear an emergency I.D. bracelet and DO make sure you let family, friends, and restaurants know ahead of time so they can plan accordingly.

Coeliac Disease:
This is a disease that is commonly passed down through family members.  It means that your body has an intolerance to Gluten (combination of wheat, rye, and barley), and consumption can actually be very damaging to your body.  This is a disease that is very important to be aware of, because Gluten is present in almost everything that the typical college diet consists of. Thankfully, stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods offer a variety of products that are gluten-free that can either be bought in person or ordered online.

These are all important allergies to be aware of, but there are many others out there too.  To avoid having an allergic reaction, pay attention to your body and the foods you are consuming on a daily basis.  It is important to know what you have eaten to figure out what your body is allergic to.  If you already know what you are allergic to, be aware of the foods you eat and the severity of the reaction you will have.  You may have to ask where your meal was processed, and every detail of what it was made with… but in the long run it will be well worth it.

By Kelly Leslie, San Francisco State University

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