5 Common Food Allergies And How To Combat Them

5 Common Food Allergies And How To Combat Them

Pooja Maheshwary

Ever had hiccups or a runny nose after eating something spicy? Or a case of the loosies after consuming milk or cheese? These symptoms may often indicate a food allergy or intolerance.

Food allergies are more common than you would think. So, we reached out to Janvi Chitalia, Functional Nutritionist and Integrative Gut Microbiome Health Coach, and asked her to share her expert inputs on what food allergies are, how they differ from food intolerances, what the most common food allergies are and their symptoms, and ways we can eliminate them. Scroll down to read all that Janvi shared with us!

What Is A Food Allergy?

Food allergies are a  response of the immune system to the food or toxins that enter our system. It is the part of the protein of the food that causes allergy, which triggers the immune response. It is an IgE-mediated immune response. When Food or substances are seen as a pathogen or invader by the immune system it wages allergies as an immune response. The immune system produces antibodies, cells of the immune system produce histamines, and histamine produces allergic reactions. Janvi says,

70% to 80% of the immune system is found in the gut, which causes the immune system to become the watch guard for the body. Every food that comes into the system is seen as good or bad for the body and has a different reaction pathway. An allergic reaction can show up within few seconds to even four hours!

Wheezing, breathlessness, tightness of the chest, cramping, diarrhea, and even extreme reaction such as choking or an anaphylactic are some of the symptoms of an allergic episode.

What Are The Top Food Allergens?



Wheat contains proteins such as gluten, gliadin and more. Gluten is found in many day-to-day sources such as rava, maida, barley, dalia, and semolina. In today's time, it is often seen that gluten has changed its form from what our grandparents would eat to what it is now. The wheat grain available years ago had 14 chromosomes (einkorn) while the wheat we find today has 42 chromosomes (triticale). This leads to symptoms related to the gut causing inflammation, diarrhea, or even wheezing, irritation, or swelling of the throat and hives.

Substitutes: Wheat can be substituted with bajra, jowar, nachni, amaranth, buckwheat, water chestnut, red rice, brown rice, and quinoa.


As we recognise that dairy often is touted as food that does not suit people due to its hormonal imbalance, it is said that most people develop a dairy intolerance after the age of three years; however, some people reach their threshold right away while in others, it take months or years to show up. The molecular structure of the dairy can mimic the protein structure of the wheat which can lead to severe symptoms such as wheezing, irritation of the throat, hives, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, and loose stool.

Substitutes: Dairy can be substituted with almond milk, coconut milk and oats milk.

Tree Nuts And Peanuts

Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews can often cause allergic reactions to produce excess histamine in children and adults. Nuts allergy can lead to wheezing, respiratory distress, cough, swollen airways, or even hives.

Substitutes: Nuts can be substituted with raisins, figs, apricots and prunes.

Corn And Soya

Soy and Corn are highly processed and cause inflammation in the gut, causing similar symptoms similar to those caused by gluten and dairy.

Eggs And Fish

Eggs and fish have also been shown to have allergic reactions in the body and cause similar symptoms such as those caused by gluten and dairy.

Substitutes: They can be substituted with organic chicken and organic chicken bone broth.

How To Deal With Allergy?

The best way to work on allergies is to work on an elimination diet. An elimination diet works by eliminating allergy food groups one by one, eliminating food and correlating symptoms over the next two days to see if those symptoms cause any severe or moderate responses. Complete elimination of that food or food group must be followed.

Allergies can best settle by giving the immune system a break from the food and then reintroducing it back after healing the gut with a 5-hour gut healing process—remove, replace, re-inoculate, repair, and rebalance.

Recognise the food allergen in each case by keeping an elimination diet journal. Eliminate the food which seems to cause symptoms for over 4 to 6 weeks. It would also help to eliminate each allergen one by one to track how their absence makes the immune system feel.

What Is Food Intolerance?


Food intolerances are an IGG-mediated immune response which is known as a delayed response of the immune system. The reaction is delayed by as much as 6-8 hours or even by 24, 42 or 72 hours, and the symptoms are more digestive.

The common symptoms of intolerance are bloating, gas, headaches, constipation, and reflux. The top food intolerances found in people are beans, cabbage, citrus fruits, gluten grains and dairy.

What Is The Difference Between Allergy And Intolerance?

An allergy is related to the respiratory system reaction and can even be fatal in certain cases if an epi-pen is not used. On the other hand, an intolerance is related to the digestive tract and does not have severe symptoms.


People who suffer from allergies must consult with a doctor or a functional nutritionist to make changes to the diet or use antihistamine as a way to control their allergies.

What would you like to know about food allergies? Please share it with us in the comments below!

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