Food allergy is in trend

July 15th, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by Amrit Rashmisrisethi  


A report says that 11 million Americans suffer from food allergies and sends victims to the hospital.

About 150 people die each year from allergic reactions to food, the odd thing is that although we live in a time when we no longer forage through the forest and might unknowing eat toxic stuff, food allergies are on the rise. In fact, the allergies are to commonly ingested foods such as milk, eggs, wheat, soy, nuts and fish.

According to Hugh Samson of Mount Sinai Medical School and the Food Allergy Initiative, food allergies are a case of the immune system going haywire.

The main thing is what food we eat is broken down in the digestive tract and some bits of protein lands up in the bloodstream , usually perceived by the immunune system as it is harmless. For some people the immune system does not react properly and produces an antibody that attacks those proteins and send the body into an allergic shock.

The rise in allergic reactions is real, Sampson feels, because culture has changed the way foods are introduced into the diet.

Peanut allergies are highest in Western culture. In some cultures peanuts are on the early menu.

The leading kid snack food in Israel is Bamba, a corn puff made with peanut butter, and seems to be few Israeli kids with peanut allergies.

Children in Hebrew school in England, where there is no Bamba, often have peanut allergies. Culture plays a role in food preparation that might be a set-up for allergic reactions. Sampson points out that Africans boil their peanuts while American eat them dry-roasted. Dry roasting, it appears, make the peanuts into little allergy bombs just waiting to get into our bloodstreams and cause havoc.

Many people claim food allergies without being tested, means a certain type of food might cause intestinal distress (or the person imagines the distress) and there is no allergy to it.

It is also become a trend in the Western culture to have an allergy to diary or wheat and also a cure-all for stress and upset but it does not make the food a medical problem.

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