Food Allergies: Causes, Symptoms & Allergenic Foods

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Food allergies are perhaps the most widespread and universal medical condition that people suffer from.

What are Food Allergies?

If you have a food allergy, your body’s immune system reacts in a negative way, usually due to one of the proteins in the food that the body identifies as harmful. A food allergy is different from food intolerance, or any other medication-related reaction, or toxicity reactions. There are common food allergies that millions of people suffer from, as well as strange or unusual allergies that people often don’t even think of as allergenic foods.


If you suffer from a food allergy then depending on your body and your specific digestion system, some proteins won’t be digested properly. This means that they will be tagged by Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which means that the immune system will then be activated to eliminate the protein.

A young man refusing to eat foods - fish, prawns, and almonds that may cause food allergy

The method of combating a foreign presence that is tagged by immunoglobulin is simple; the immune system sends white blood cells to attack the invader. This results in an allergic reaction, which can range from imperceptibly mild to extremely severe. Since these proteins are deemed problematic by the body’s systems, there is no way to re-program the system, so these problematic proteins will always cause allergic reactions in people. Therefore, avoiding allergenic foods is the best solution, although there are certain medications that can treat, reduce, or prevent allergic reactions.


It is important to identify which foods you are sensitive to, so you can avoid them or be aware of what is happening when your body has a reaction. For that reason, you need to recognize the symptoms of a food allergy reaction. Again, ranging from mild to severe, they can include the following:

  • Dermatitis
  • Hives, skin rash
  • Itching of the mouth, lips, tongue, and gums
  • A runny nose and sneezing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Headaches or lightheadedness
  • Hoarse voice, breathing problems and wheezing
  • Throat swelling

Note: In some of the rare cases where there are a number of complications, including respiratory and cardiopulmonary failures, the food allergy may also be fatal.

Common Food Allergies

Most of the common food allergens contain proteins and range from everyday food items to strange or unique protein-based foods. Listed below are some of the most common foods that cause allergies: Protection Status
About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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