Certain foods can cause several physical reactions in people. Although such reactions are quite common in kids and adults, most of these symptoms occur due to food intolerance instead of food allergies. If a person is suffering from food intolerance, then he may be suffering from the same symptoms that are associated with food allergies. Due to this reason, many people tend to confuse food allergies with food intolerance.
Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance: What’s the difference?
A food allergy affects the immune system. If the symptoms of a food allergy are too severe, then it can be dangerous and life-threatening. However, the symptoms of food intolerance are not as severe as it only affects the digestive system. If you are suffering from symptoms of food intolerance, then you can still have those foods in small quantities that you are intolerant of without suffering from any severe side effects. For instance, if you are lactose intolerant, then you can still drink lactose-free milk or regular milk with Lactaid pills to ease the process of digestion.
Factors That Cause Food Intolerance
Following are some common factors that cause food tolerance in kids and adults:
- Absence of certain enzymes in the body that aid in the proper digestion of food.
- Some foods can cause people to experience irritable bowel movements. Some foods can also cause excessive cramping, constipation, or diarrhea.
- Many people are intolerant of certain food additives. For instance, sulfites that keep nuts fresh, canned foods, and alcohol can induce asthma attacks in people with a weaker immune system.
- Excessive stress or anxiety is also believed to trigger specific symptoms associated with food sensitivities and intolerance.
- People who have celiac disease suffer from various symptoms related to food allergies, as it also affects the body’s immune system. These symptoms may also include certain gastrointestinal disorders. People who have celiac disease may even experience several symptoms that are not directly related to the digestive tract — for example, joint pain, migraine, or headaches. Celiac disease is usually triggered by having gluten-based foods.
Factors That Cause Food Allergies
Following are some common symptoms experienced by those who suffer from various food allergies:
- blocked or runny nose
- burning, swollen or watery eyes
- dry cough
- acne or rashes
- vomiting or nausea
- swollen face
- difficulty in breathing
- abdominal pain
- dizziness and lightheadedness
Food allergies are usually diagnosed from blood tests or skin prick tests. The most effective method to control food allergies is by avoiding those foods that can trigger the symptoms of allergy or through immunotherapy/hyposensitization, which involves the rehabilitation of the immune system.
People suffer from food allergies when their body produces an antibody known as immunoglobin (IgE) in excessive amounts. Although any food can cause allergic reactions, however, certain foods are believed to trigger specific allergic responses by affecting the immune system. For example, eggs, seafood, peanuts, wheat, and red meat, etc. By figuring out these symptoms in time, it is possible to prevent any potential life-threatening effects of food allergies.