Food allergy occurs when the immune system (body defenses) believes that a food substance that is harmless to the body, is dangerous, and reacts by releasing histamine and other substances to “fight” the “intruder”. Thus, the instant the individual ingests the food, the immune system begins to “defend” the body and release chemical substances that cause the various allergy symptoms – abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, asthma, cough, etc. – and which can affect the respiratory, digestive, skin and / or cardiovascular systems. In serious cases, this reaction can lead to a rapid drop in blood pressure and a dramatic, potentially fatal reaction, known as anaphylactic shock, which can interfere with a person’s ability to breathe.
Most foods can trigger an allergic response, but the preparation and cooking and the action of digestive acid and enzymes destroy this potential. The foods frequently involved in food allergy are those that have a high protein content, especially those of vegetable and marine origin. Among the main foods that showed allergic reactions are corn, rice, rye, nuts, shrimp, seafood, turkey, pork and beef, banana, pumpkin and potato.
Although it can affect anyone, it is known that the greatest number of cases is present in the breastfeeding phase, followed by childhood and later in adults. The main factors related to food allergy are heredity, exposure to foods that cause allergy and gastrointestinal permeability, although environmental factors can accentuate the symptoms of the allergy.