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How to find out if you have food allergies?

Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. You have food allergies if a tiny amount of the allergy causing food  triggers signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. Many people think they have food allergies. But according to experts, only 5% of children and 4% of teens and adults really have an allergic reaction to certain things they eat.

How to find out if you have food allergies?

If you’re unsure and want to distinguish between an allergy and intolerance, you can do blood tests or a skin prick test. The latter is the most common way to detect allergies, however, it isn’t 100 per cent accurate. IgE tests (via a blood test) determine a body’s IgE (a type of antibody) levels. A higher than average presence might indicate that your body overreacts to allergens.

Keep a Food Diary: This simple task can help you help your doctor figure out what’s going on. For 1 or 2 weeks, write down in a notebook: Everything you eat, any symptoms you have, how long the symptoms happen after you eat certain foods.

Try an Elimination Diet: Let’s say you had a reaction after eating prawns or shrimp with peanut sauce. You think the shellfish or peanuts caused it, but you don’t know which. An “exclusion” or “elimination diet” can help pinpoint the problem food.

It’s important to do this under doctor supervision, because a food allergy can be dangerous and even fatal.

The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, flatulence—all GI or gastric symptoms. You can also have skin symptoms which will include hives, itching and rashes.

See a Registered Dietitian. They can help you figure out where your problem food might be lurking. If you’re eliminating something nutritious like milk from your diet, they can help you find other ways to get important nutrients.

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