Most of us are familiar with the common allergens found in our daily staples, like milk and eggs, but what about the hidden allergens lurking in some of our favourite treats?
Health24 emphasises that food allergies are not caused by a malfunction of our digestive system, but by the way our immune system reacts to certain types of proteins in the foods we eat.
Poor diet and lifestyle
Allergens are naturally occurring proteins that are found in foods that may cause an abnormal immune response according to the Allergen Bureau. Each of these uncommon allergens has its own reactive response that may vary from person to person.
The body may reject a normally harmless protein from certain food items and react by producing antibodies that attack the “intruder”.
Unusual allergens like for example latex, found in avocados, or a chemical called urushiol, found in mangoes, may cause this reaction.
While there are no definite figures for these uncommon food allergies, dietitian Ria Carstens explains: "People nowadays experience allergies or food intolerance to uncommon foods due to poor diet and lifestyle.”
Here are five foods that contain rare allergens:
This popular children’s treat can cause a rare allergy. The ingredient, gelatine, can cause an allergic reaction. Gelatine and meat allergies are often found in the same individual. Allergic persons need to thoroughly read food labels to avoid gelatine.
An avocado allergy can be caused by eating or touching this fruit.
Skin coming into contact with avocado may cause irritation, redness, swelling and itching, and an oral allergy will usually result in symptoms like itchy lips, mouth and throat.
According to The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology(acaai), many people who are allergic to latex (made from the sap of the rubber tree) are also allergic to avocados and other foods that contain some of the same proteins as in latex.
Meat allergies are quite rare and can be developed at any age. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), explains that when heating and cooking meat, allergens in the product may be reduced. If you’re allergic to a certain type of meat, it may not necessarily mean that you need to avoid other types of meat.
Symptoms to the above allergens may range from mild to severe and may vary from person to person.
Mild symptoms include:
- Red face or eyes
- Itchy mouth or ear canal
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
Ria emphasises that as soon as an allergic reaction is suspected one should consult a doctor.
"The best is not to wait for the symptoms to get worse. When experiencing uncommon symptoms the best is to seek immediate advice from your local doctor."
- Substitute other sweets for marshmallows, e.g. toffees.
- Enjoy a variety of other fruit instead of mango.
- Use olive oil instead of avocado.
- Brown rice is a good substitute for corn.
- Have chicken instead of red meat.