Common Food Allergens Causing Autoimmunity
22 November 2019
The term autoimmunity refers to the misdirected response that occurs when our body’s immune system fails to recognize its own healthy cells and tissues, resulting in diseases or functional changes within the body. Generally, autoimmunity manifests in the form of allergies that flare up as an autoimmune response to certain foods and environmental triggers. These allergies, if not corrected in the initial stages, eventually turn into chronic autoimmune conditions causing damage to tissue, organs, and glands. Certain allergens in food are known to cause food allergy; additionally, environmental toxins can induce an autoimmune response in the body.
In this blog, we have listed the most common food allergens causing autoimmunity.
Cow’s milk: Casein is a protein that is abundantly found in cow’s milk that can cause allergic reactions when consumed. People allergic to cow’s milk are prone to be allergic to milk from other animals as well. So, it is advisable to avoid all dairy products to avoid this allergy.
Eggs: When an allergic reaction such as skin rash or vomiting occurs within minutes of eating eggs, it could be egg allergy. The symptoms generally range from mild to severe. In very rare cases it causes a life-threatening reaction.
Peanuts: An allergy to peanuts is recognized as the most severe among the food allergies due to its prevalence and propensity to cause a severe allergic reaction. Those with asthma are more likely to be severely affected by a peanut allergy.
Tree Nuts: When an individual develops hypersensitivity for tree nuts and edible seeds from trees it is called tree-nut allergy. Specific allergenic proteins found in most of the tree nuts cause the allergy and the reaction…remedy: don’t eat tree nuts!
Wheat: The gluten found in wheat causes wheat allergies which lead to symptoms such as nausea, stomach cramps, headaches, skin rash or hives. A more severe reaction is breathing difficulties. Apart from wheat, this protein called gluten is found in other cereals such as barley, rye, and oats. Gluten is the reason why cereals are strictly prohibited from the AIP and Paleo diet
Soybean: Being allergic to soy and soy products such as tofu, soy sauce, soy milk is the most common food allergy that can begin in infancy. While most of the children outgrow the soy allergy, others may carry this allergy into adulthood.
Fish & Shellfish: Fish and shellfish allergic reactions might occur after eating, touching or inhaling odors from shellfish, fish, or other seafood. Fish or shellfish allergies can range from mild to severe but should be treated immediately to prevent severe reactions.
Sesame & Mustard Allergy: Sesame seeds and sesame oil is widely used across the world in baking, salad dressing and Sushi. Sesame and sesame products can affect thousands of people after eating foods made from these seeds. Mustard seed is categorized as a spice allergy and is one of the most common food allergies. Some of the allergic reactions to these seed are eczema, abdominal pain, dizziness, swelling of lips, and in severe cases breathing difficulty and wheezing.
Common Symptoms of Food Allergies:
Most people experience the following symptoms with food allergies but they can range from person to person.
- Swelling of lips and face
- Tingling sensation in the mouth
- Skin rash or hives
- Burning sensation on lips and mouth
- Itch and blotchy skin
- Runny nose
- streaming eyes
If the food allergy is severe, it may cause irregular heartbeat, a drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness. Immediate medical attention is required if these symptoms are observed in an individual as it could be life-threatening.
Why should we eliminate food allergens while on AIP/Paleo Diet?
When an individual with an immune system that overreacts to certain food engages in a diet with food allergens, the immune system can turn hypersensitive. This may cause inflammation, gut- irritation and prolonged autoimmune conditions. This is why foods causing autoimmune response and inflammation are strictly avoided while living the Paleo/AIP diet. This diet helps reduce the severity of the symptoms by removing the troubling food and by providing nutrients that promote healthy immune regulation. Not all the nutrients that our bodies need are provided through our daily diet so be sure to include AIP/paleo compliant protein powder into your regiment. You can add it to your favorite smoothies, soups, and protein shakes for an extra boost of essential nutrients that are required to improve immunity and enhance the healing process.