What are food allergies?

Food allergies are conditions where your body's immune system thinks some of the proteins and other chemicals in the food you eat are dangerous, and so attempt to mount an immune response to it. The food chemicals are picked up by an immune chemical known as IgE. IgE sits on a type of immune cell known as a mast cell, and acts as a receptor. When it comes into contact with the specific food chemical you are allergic to (the food allergen), it makes the mast cell make histamine and other inflammatory chemicals, that cause the symptoms of a food allergy.

Roughly 1 in 70 adults in the UK have a food allergy, and it is much more common in children. Many children can outgrow food allergies. Food allergies can be confused with food intolerances or food sensitivities. Although food intolerances and sensitivities may cause some similar symptoms, the way these symptoms are produced is by a different method. Symptoms of food intolerances and sensitivities can be extremely unpleasant.

Food Allergies Guide Index:

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