March 3, 2007
Posted in Category :

Food and Food Additives

Food allergy normally begins before the age of one. Babies who have food allergy tend to develop frequent ear infections, eczema, running nose, and they cry frequently. Some babies tend to vomit frequently, especially after eating foods they are sensitive to. They may also develop diarrhea. Babies who have food allergy are more likely to develop asthma later in life. Detailed below are some of the common foods that cause allergy.

Allergy to milk, especially allergy to cow’s milk is often observed in infants. If symptoms of an allergy are noticed eliminate cow’s milk from the child’s diet for at least two weeks and then reintroduce it. If the baby has milk allergy, the symptoms will either disappear when milk is eliminated or reappear when it is reintroduced.

Wheat allergy is also common. Allergy to wheat should be suspected if the child develops rash, colic and diarrhea after taking cereals for the first time.

White of an egg also commonly induces allergy. Taking raw eggs can cause very serious reactions in people who are sensitive to it. The allergy is induced by the egg protein.

Fish and other sea foods are also common allergens. If you are allergic to fish, it is desirable that you avoid all types of sea food.

Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, groundnuts can induce severe allergic reactions.

Other foods that may cause allergies include apples, bananas, cashew nuts, oranges, grapefruits mushrooms, grapes, jaggery, mustard2, radish, chocolates and soft drinks.

Many children outgrow the sensitivity to these foods with age. They outgrow allergic reactions to milk and milk products and wheat faster than other food allergens.

Food additives: Some commercially prepared foods contain chemicals or food additives that help them to remain fresh for a long time. These food additives include preservatives, food colors, artificial flavors, sweeteners, etc. Some of these additives may cause allergic reactions. Food additives that are known to trigger asthma include sulphites, tartrazine, monosodium glutamate, butylated hydroxy toluene and parabens.

Sulphites: Sulphites and Meta bisulphites are commonly used in the production of processed foods. They are also used in restaurants to keep the salads fresh. Common allergic reactions to sulphites include itching, rash on the skin, discomfort in the abdomen,
1. An unrefined brown sugar made from palm sap
2. Any of several herbs (genus Brassica of the family Cruciferae, the mustard family) with lobed leaves and yellow flowers; seeds used as a condiment

Common additives to food: Sulphites tartrazine, beer, butter, wine, cheese, vinegar, canned fruits, pickles , ice cream, cheese, mustard powder, dry fruits and nuts, breakfast cereals, fruit juices, potato chips, preserved fruits, candy or chocolate, gelatine products such as jelly, cough lozenges etc.

There are occurrences of diarrhea and abnormal reduction of blood pressure etc. Rarely, sulphites may also lower blood pressure to below normal. Check the list of ingredients on processed foods before you buy them. Avoid them if they contain sulphites. It is important to remember that some asthma medicines also contain sulphites.

Tartrazine: This is a common food coloring and is added to give yellow color to foods. Tartrazine is normally added to soft drinks, butter, margarine, some medicines, chocolates or candies, oranges, etc. Allergic reactions to tartrazine are normally mild, but may be severe in some people. It is therefore better to avoid tartrazine if you are sensitive to it.

Monosodium glutamate: This is an essential ingredient for most Chinese recipes and is used to season foods and enhance their taste. Sensitivity to monosodium glutamate can cause severe reactions such as asthma, headache, migraine, diarrhoea, tightness in the chest, sweating and burning sensation at the back of the neck and upper part of the chest.

Butylated hydroxy toluene: Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used as preservatives for grain and cereal products because they prevent their decay. Both BHA and BHT can cause allergic reactions such as swelling, urticaria, etc, in sensitive people. Urticaria is the term used for either acute or chronic allergic reaction in which red, round and raised skin patches with severe itching are formed. These rashes may either be like small spots or be up to several inches in size.

Parabens: Allergic reactions of parabens usually occur on the skin and include redness, swelling, itching and may even lead to asthma. Sometimes you can develop symptoms of asthma even if you do not have any specific allergies. This is because of irritants. Prolonged and/or repeated exposure to irritants may build up and cause asthma.