You must have noticed that an increasing number of people are talking about issues with dairy as well as gluten, presenting a list of all the foods they think we need to avoid in order to live a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, this increased focus on the harms caused by products containing gluten and dairy has taken the discussion far away from the topic of food allergies, which, according to reports, are increasing in occurrence.
Defining Food Allergy
According to experts, what we call an allergy is basically a reaction produced by our immune system to a foreign substance.
Primarily, our immune system is responsible for making sure no infection successfully enters and stays in our bloodstream, fighting anything of the sort by creating specialized cells called antibodies.
But sometimes, it misdiagnoses certain foods as a dangerous substance as well and tries to fight it off like it normally would to any infection-causing virus or bacteria.
For example, many people have an allergy to peanuts, even though it is a very nutritious source of protein and does not cause the body any harm if consumed in moderation. In the UK alone, around 1.76% of the people are said to have an allergy towards tree nuts.
An allergic reaction can be very dangerous since it can cause blockage in a person’s airways so severe that it might become difficult to breathe. Also, the blood vessels become dilated, which makes it difficult for oxygenated blood to reach vital organs, and this can potentially cause organs to fail thereby causing the person to die.
An Increase In Allergic Reactions?
There have been reports that hint at an increase in the number of allergy incidents within the UK. According to reported figures, the UK saw a surge of a massive 615% in the number of registered cases for food-related allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis, between the 20-year period starting back in 1992 and ending in the year 2012. Within this time frame, the number of reactions caused by consumption of peanuts doubled as well.
Reports have also concluded that 44% of all British adults are prone to having an allergic reaction, although only around half of them underwent a proper medical diagnosis to identify an allergy while the rest reported based upon self-diagnosis. Also, estimates have also placed around 7.1% of all breastfed infants in the category of people who are allergic to some foods.
These reports have eliminated all reasonable doubt from the conclusion that perhaps the rate of allergy is certainly rising as time passes, with every new generation dealing with an increasing number of foods that can potentially cause an allergic reaction.
While research continues to find a reason behind this increase in allergy rates around the world, the most reasonable theory has blamed the absence of microbes in our environment as a possible culprit.
According to this theory, since we have become much cleaner than our ancestors, thanks to disinfectant products while allowing us to rid our environment of all bacteria and viruses, our immune system is now targeting foods which are not harmful, mostly due to lack of any other harmful substances.