Two to three percent of all adults react to certain foods – among children, it is more than twice as many. Eating a variety of foods as a child can lead to developing an allergy. There is an EU directive, according to which a total of 14 ingredients and the products derived from them must be declared as possible triggers of food allergies on packaged foods. The following foods are the most common for allergies.
Peanut allergy is the most common food allergy in children. Approximately 0.8-3% of children and 0.6-0.8% of adults are currently affected, primarily in the USA, Canada, England and Australia. A large number of nuts, including peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios, can cause an antigen-antibody reaction, which is expressed in coughing, swollen mucous membranes, pustules or even more severe reactions. If that’s the case, avoid it at all costs.
It is estimated that around 0.2% of people worldwide suffer from a fish allergy. However, with these figures, it must be noted that in countries with high fish consumption the number of allergy sufferers is most likely higher. Fish allergy is always IgE-mediated and is a specific immune response to certain fish proteins.
Cereals containing gluten are consumed in large quantities. Wheat is one of the staple foods worldwide, covering almost 50% of our daily calorie requirements. There are various causes of wheat or gluten intolerance; clear identification is often difficult. In addition to an autoimmune disease, celiac disease, there is gluten sensitivity, but also wheat allergy.
Cow’s milk allergy primarily affects young children and is less commonly seen in older children because tolerance can develop with this allergy. It is one of the most common allergies in children in the western world, affecting approximately 2-7.5% of formula-fed children under the age of 1 year. Also, there are no clinical tests to confirm this allergy, making this type of allergy very difficult to diagnose.
Mustard allergy is probably the most common spice allergy. Although the chances of getting a mustard allergy are very low, the reactions are often very strong. The mustard allergy usually occurs as a cross-allergy or as an additional allergy, very rarely as the only allergy.
Most of the known mustard allergens are stable to heat and digestion and are therefore not destroyed during mustard production. These can cause strong reactions.
Soybeans contain approx. 37% proteins, eight of which have been classified as allergens. The skin allergens are β-conglycinin (Gly m5) and glycinin (Gly m6), which can cause severe allergic reactions and make up 70% of total protein. If an allergy to soybeans is diagnosed, products containing any type of soy must be avoided at all costs.
Currently, 7 allergens have been identified in sesame seeds and 3 allergens in sesame oil. Reactions range from skin reactions to anaphylactic reactions, which are even relatively common. With an existing allergy, tolerance rarely develops, in about 20-30% of sesame allergy sufferers.