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Food allergies: information

Food allergy is the name given to all clinical manifestations that occur after the consumption of a food (sometimes after skin contact or by simply breathing the smell) and in which there is a specific immunological mechanism (production specific antibodies, IgE).

Food allergy in figures

Food allergy is increasing. It is estimated that more than doubled in five years. Food allergy affects 3.4% of the population (adults and children), or 2,108,000 people. Children are three times more likely than adults. Food allergy affects 5 to 7% of children aged less than 15 years.

There is a gap between the actual and the food allergic population reflecting the thinking of being allergic. In fact, 20-30% of the population suffer from food allergies think. This impression is due to the so called "false allergies" that gather reactions caused by eating foods rich in histamine such as strawberry, for example. These reactions are similar to those observed in the "true allergies" but are not accompanied by production of specific antibodies. (IgE)

Why food intolerances are becoming more frequent?

The answers are many. It evokes a better understanding of food allergy, a diversification of early infant feeding, a genetic able to produce antibodies, exposure to new foods or food exotic internationalization of menus.

What are the foods most often implicated in food allergies?

Every food is proficient of causing a food allergy (Table 1) in hypersensitive individuals. Conversely, several foods are more probable than others to cause food allergy. In children, the main foods are cow's milk, egg, peanut (peanut), wheat flour, fish, and shrimp. With the internationalization of menus, food diversification, were added kiwi, nuts and sesame.

Table 1. Foods are classified in two categories.

1. foods of animal origin
- Cow's milk.
- Hen's egg
- Fish: cod, whiting, dab, sole, tuna, mackerel, shark ...
- Shellfish: escargot, oysters, mussels, clams, squid, octopus, cuttlefish, abalone, limpet, lobster, crayfish, shrimp, crab ...
- Poultry: chicken, turkey, duck, pigeon, goose, pheasant, quail
- Meat: beef mainly, sometimes, veal, pork, mutton

2. Foods of plant origin
- Peanut
- Cereals: wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice, maize
- Umbelliferae: celeriac, celery, carrot
- Solanaceae: tomato, eggplant, potato
- Nuts: hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, coconut, macadamia nuts ...
- Mustard and other cruciferous radishes, rutabagas, cabbage (red, flower, root, Chinese, Brussels), broccoli, horseradish, watercress, turnip rape
- Rosaceae: apple, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, plum, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, medlar, quince, pear
- Fruits and exotic kiwi, mango, starfruit, pineapple, papaya, melon, fig, banana, orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, kumquat, lychee, rambutan
- Spices: garlic, cardamom, coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, ginger, cloves, mustard, nutmeg, onion, paprika, chili, pepper
- Honey and bee products: honey, royal jelly, propolis, pollen loads
- Sesame

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