Most Common Food Allergies

Most Common Food Allergies

Allergies to food are very common, affecting around five percent of adults and 8 percent of children, and according to research these numbers are on the rise, both as awareness and understanding increase.

Interestingly, though it is actually possible for almost any food to cause an allergy, studies have shown that most food allergies are caused by just a limited number of foods.

What Exactly Is a Food Allergy?

A food allergy is simply a condition in which an abnormal immune response in a person’s body is triggered by a certain food. In these kind of responses, the body’s immune system mistakes certain food proteins as invasive. Various protective measures are then triggered in the immune system, such as the release of certain chemicals like histamine, which in turn causes inflammation in the body.

For those who have food allergies, just a minimal exposure to minimal amounts of the “invasive” food, is able to trigger an allergic response. Symptoms will occur some time within a minutes after the initial exposure up to to even several hours later. Allergic symptoms can include an itchy rash, hives, diarreah, vomiting, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and/or swelling of the face, mouth or tongue.

With more severe responses, food allergies may cause anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis, which present very suddenly will include low blood pressure, shortness of breath, selling of the tongue or throat, and an itchy rash. And in some cases anaphylaxis is fatal.

While food intolerances can be mistaken as food allegies, food intolerances do not trigger responses by a body’d immune system. So, while intolerances can negatively impact a person’s physical comfort and quality of life, food intolerances are not considered life threatening.

Most Common Food Allergies

Here is a list of the most common food allergies and relative recommendations:

Cows Milk

Allergy to cow’s milk typically affects kids under age three. Milk and any and all milk products have to be avoided in the case of cow’s milk diagnosis.


Allergic response to the egg white is the most common egg allergy, and presents most commonly in children. However, according to various studies sixty eight percent of kids that have an allergy to eggs outgrow this by age sixteen. Treatment is an egg-free diet. Over time reintroduction of certain foods that contain cooked eggs into the diet is possible for some people.

Tree Nuts

Some people have an allergic reaction to certain seeds and nuts from trees, such as walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, cashews, brazil nuts, and almonds. This is a very common allergy and includes any nut butters made with these tree nuts. Because this is often a life long condition, the best and most effective treatment is to avoid all tree nuts. People with tree nut allergies are advised to carry an epi-pen.


Peanut allergy, like that of a tree nut allergy, is a serious condition which will often cause severe allergic reactions. Peanuts and any and all peanut-containing products must be avoided for life.
Some new treatments are being developed for children with peanut allergy, so it is advised to consult with your doctor for any updates or advice.


Shellfish allergy is commonly triggered by the protein known as tropomyosin. Symptoms often include diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain, so it can be hard to diagnose sometimes because these symptoms are similar to having an adverse reaction to bacteria, viruses or parasites sometimes found in seafood. Treatment for any shellfish allergy is avoidance of any and all shellfish including scallops, squid, lobster, crayfish, prawns, and shrimp.


Wheat allergy is the result of a person’s sensitivity to any of the many proteins found in wheat. It tends to affect kids most often. Treatment is simply a wheat-free diet, however fortunately some kids do outgrow this allergy by age ten.
Those with an allergy to wheat need to avoid only wheat and are able to tolerate gluten from any grains that do not specifically contain wheat. Wheat allergies are usually diagnosed with the use of a skin prick test.


An allergy to soy is caused by proteins found in soybeans and any soybean products. If a soy allergy is present, treatment is avoidance of all soy and soy based products. Soy allergies are most commonly found in in children under three and infants. Many people outgrow this allergy. Symptoms of soy allergies often include a tingly or itchy mouth, and/or a runny nose, as well as asthma, rash or difficulty breathing.


Fish allergies are surprisingly common in adults, though are sometimes confused with adverse reactions to ingesting fish that has been contaminated. Unlike with other common allergies, a fish allergy is often likely to appear later in a person’s life. As with a shellfish allergy, if a fish allergy is present, reactions can be very serious and possibly fatal. Common symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting, but anaphylaxis can occur. An epi-pen is often recommended for those with a fish allergy.


Ultimately, every person is different and any food is able to cause an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions to vegetables, fruits and seeds are less common, but do exist.

Some other less common foods that cause allergies include Chamomile, Aniseed, Mustard, Garlic, Celery, Passion Fruit, Kiwi, Avocado, Banana, Peach, Sesame Seed, and Linseed.


Because it can be challenging to distinguish between food intolerances and food allergies, if you think you might have a food allergy it’s very important to consult with your doctor. Usually a series of various tests will help determine if you have a food allergy. Diagnosing a food allergy could potentially save your life, so seeking advice is highly recommended.

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