Legume Allergy. Are you Nuts?

A thick and rich peanut butter please! Double Dutch flavored ice cream! More Ferrero please! We just love to eat but what about health and safety? A person who has legume or peanut allergy has to be cautious about what he eats in order to avoid food allergic reactions. Legumes or peanuts are basically found in many food preparations, ingredients, delicacies, dishes, desserts and drinks because of their size. Unlike for those who are allergic to seafoods, it is a lot easier to rule out whether a food contains seafood ingredients or extracts but when it comes to legumes, it can be quite difficult because of their larger input scale on many foods. Virtually, almost 90 percent of food allergies are reactions to nuts, dairy products, soy, wheat, fish or shellfish, according to the Cleveland Clinic website. Let me discuss with you a few matters about allergy and legume allergy.

Food Allergies

Food allergies should not be neglected as it has several immediate effects to the body and may lead to death. A food allergy happens when you have ingest or have a contact with a food allergen that causes your immune system to produce antibodies as a response. As a reaction to the allergen, antibodies that attach to specific types of cells found in your blood, called basophils and mast cells (found in your skin, digestive tracts, ears, nose, throat) cause a reaction. These chemicals cause an allergic reaction symptoms such as hives, redness, inflammation, maceration, vomiting, stomach cramps, tingling throat and could be even worse such as an anaphylactic shock.

An anaphylactic shock is a widespread, serious allergic reaction characterized by dizziness, loss of consciousness, labored or difficulty in breathing, wheezing, cyanosis of the skin, swelling of the tongue and respiratory airways, low blood pressure and may lead to death. This is an emergency situation and causes immediate death if not treated. Allergic food should strictly be avoided to prevent these scenarios.

A lot of people still love to eat their favourite foods even though they know that they are allergic to it. Reasons to continue eating these allergic foods are probably because they have tolerated allergic reaction response or they are dependent on over the counter remedies. Still, this should not be the case for everyone for an allergic reaction depends on the amount of allergen ingested. An allergic person may consciously eat the food he is allergic to without knowing the amount of allergen containing it.

Food Intolerance

Food allergies are often associated or confused with food intolerance. The symptoms may be the same but the difference is how these symptoms are triggered. In the pathophysiology of a food intolerance, the immune system is not involved. This only happens in allergy. Food intolerance is more common that food allergy. Food intolerance is characterized by difficulty in digesting the food. Common offenders include milk products. I’m sure you know someone who is lactose intolerance. In this case, there is no histamine response involved.

Peanut Allergies

Peanut allergies are among the most serious of food allergies. Allergic persons experience an immediate reaction within minutes of eating, touching, or even just the mere breathing of air that is contaminated with peanut products. Symptoms of peanut allergy include hives, tingling throat, stomach cramps and anaphylaxis. Mild attacks can be treated with over the counter antihistamine tablets while severe reactions need emergency treatment of epinephrine and direct observation of a medical practitioner.

Many foods contain peanuts and soy bean and reading labels will help a lot in managing your diet. A lot of times some food labels may not include peanuts or other legume extracts on their ingredients list. In this case, never take chances on your life or the life of your kid. Never depend on OTC antihistamines. It is hard to know if a processed food is made with their oils. Often times they are written with very technical terms without you knowing that it is already the peanut ingredients that they are referring to. Whenever you have this condition, you should always pay attention to the many other names of legume bi-products in order to prevent ingesting it. In the case of soybeans, it is hard to fight because these are often used as fillers in many processed foods (dry cereal, infant formula, deli meat, etc) Reactions to soy bean are often less severe than of peanut allergic reactions.

When dining out, it is always imperative to ask the cook or restaurant waiter what ingredients a food may contain. Also you must take necessary precautions when eating in parties and events. Ingredients of processed foods with hydrolyzed plant or vegetable protein, soybean oil should be immediately ruled out when reading the ingredients section. Thai, Mediterranean, and other Asian dishes often use peanuts and soybean oil, tofu, and vegetable broth in their dishes. Other names of soy are vegetable protein, plant protein, soy protein isolate (SPI), vegetable gum and vegetable starch. A good advice will be to cook and prepare your own dishes to ensure safety. Necessary precautions are also used when eating desserts and sweets. A lot of delicacies have peanut, soy and legume products in preparation.

The Role of Parents and Caregivers

For adults with peanut allergy, a conscious mind and right judgment can be your safety tool in managing your diet but for children, legume allergy can be a lot more difficult to manage. Strict guidance and teaching in avoidance of unsafe foods should be done by parents and caregivers since children are more sensitive to allergic reactions and may have more serious reactions to this kind of allergy. Talk to your child’s doctor in order to know more tips in how to manage your child’s diet.


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