10 top allergenic foods you should know about

10 top allergenic foods you should know about

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakes a perfectly harmless substance for a dangerous one. In response, the system launches a full-scale attack, all the while wreaking havoc on your body.

Not all allergies are created equal, and oral allergy syndrome (OAS) is one of the lesser-known kinds of conditions. It causes your body to interpret certain fruits or vegetables as pollen.

Celery is one of the common culprits that sets off OAS (especially in areas of central Europe). It can make your skin irritated and itchy and causes hives or swelling around your mouth. Other reactions include nausea,asthma and even anaphylactic shock [source: Lawley].

You can cook some fruits and vegetables to avoid these kinds of reactions. But celery can trigger OAS no matter how you serve it. This means that when celery is used in spices and hidden in processed food, such as soups and casseroles, it can still affect someone who''s allergic to it.

9: Sesame

If you live in the United States, you may not have heard of anyone being allergic to the little seeds that speckle your cheeseburger bun. Butsesame allergies are very common in places where sesame is more prevalent, especially Japan and China.

A sesame allergy can trigger anaphylactic shock and often causes someone to pass out. In some cases, it can be fatal. Unfortunately, adults who suffer from a sesame allergy aren''t known to ever overcome it. So, if you develop the allergy, you should avoid sesame for the rest of your life [source: Emerton].

In the past few decades, sesame has become more prevalent in the United States -- and so has the allergy to it. Experts predict the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will eventually add sesame to its list of the big eight allergenic foods that require labeling.

Next, we''ll explore that notorious big eight list. These eight allergies account for nearly 90 percent of food-related allergic reactions in the United States.

8: Milk

Cow''s milk is one the most prevalent allergenic foods around the world, especially for young children. It''s estimated that about 2 to 5 percent of children have allergic reactions to cow''s milk before they are 1 year old [source: AAFA]. Some doctors tell parents to avoid giving cow''s milk to babies until they hit that 1-year-old milestone [source: Sears]. Luckily, most children seem to overcome their allergy in just a few years, after which they can drink milk and have no reaction to it. Occasionally, however, a person won''t recover from a milk allergy.

Allergic reactions to cow''s milk include hives, asthma and anaphylactic shock. Another common reaction is a condition known as atopic dermatitis, a skin condition that itches and can create a rash.

But don''t confuse lactose intolerance with a milk allergy. Intolerance for milk results in indigestion, gas and bloating and doesn''t affect the immune system like an allergy does.

Contrary to the marketing slogan, for many people, the egg is incredibly inedible. Someone could be allergic to either the white or the yolk (or both) -- each contains certain proteins that are known to trigger allergic reactions. These reactions include atopic dermatitis, hives and anaphylactic shock. Another common symptom is allergic rhinitis, a condition often associated with pollen allergies, which involves a runny nose, coughing and headache.

An allergy to eggs is arguably one of the most frustrating to live with merely because so many food products contain them. People with egg allergies must avoid mayonnaise and most baked goods. They should also carefully check the labels of pastas, processed meats, certain drinks (such as root beer and white wines) and candy. If you see any of these ingredients on a label, steer clear: ovalbumin, ovoglobulin, ovomucoid, ovomucin, ovotransferrin, ovovitelia, ovovitelin, globulin, silici albunate, albumin, lecithin, livetin, simplesee, vitellin and lysosyme [source: AAFA].

6: Peanut

Peanuts are notorious for causing allergic reactions in people: They''re among the most common allergies, and ingestion is likelier to lead to death [source: AAFA]. The allergy is especially common in young children, which is why experts warn against allowing kids to eat peanuts. Although many children overcome their peanut allergy in just a few years, most don''t, and they must struggle with it throughout their lives.

If you''re allergic and accidentally ingest one, you could develop atopic dermatitis, hives, asthma or life-threatening anaphylactic shock. If you''re lucky, you might only experience minor irritation. However, that doesn''t mean you''re out of the woods. The next time you eat something with peanuts, it could cause a much more serious reaction.

Interestingly, a peanut isn''t a nut -- it''s a legume. Next, we''ll talk about nut allergies.

Read the next: http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/menus/10-allergenic-foods-to-avoid5.htm