Food allergies are sensitivities caused by a reaction of the body's immune system to specific proteins in a food. According to a recent publicationFootnote 1, approximately 7% of Canadians self-report a food allergy. However, fewer are likely to have a physician-diagnosed food allergy, which are estimated at prevalence levels up to 5-6% for young children and 3-4% for adults in westernized countriesFootnote 2Footnote 3Footnote 4Footnote 5.

In allergic individuals, a food protein is mistakenly identified by the immune system as being harmful. The first time the individual is exposed to such a protein, the body's immune system responds by creating antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). When the individual is exposed again to the same food protein, IgE antibodies and chemicals such as histamine are released. Histamine is a powerful chemical that can cause a reaction in the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin or cardiovascular system. In the most extreme cases, food allergies can be fatal. Although any food can provoke an immune response in allergic individuals, a few foods are responsible for the majority of food allergies.

 

Other types of allergies, especially at this time of year, include Pollen, Dust mites, PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; exhaust fumes from diesel and gasoline fumes), Asthma and Insect bites. Information about all of these and other health concerns for Canadians can be found at HealthCanada.gc.ca. There are more people developing nut allergies the last few years, especially Peanut allergies. Peanuts can also be called: 

  • Arachis oil

  • Beer nuts

  • Goober nuts, goober peas

  • Ground nuts

  • Kernels

  • Mandelonas, Nu-Nuts™

  • Nut meats

  • Valencias

 

CLICK HERE for more information on Nut Allergies, their hidden names and foods in which nuts are found.

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