Allergies are a growing concern in modern society, affecting millions of people worldwide. Modern food processing techniques, combined with a higher level of awareness and diagnosis, have led to a surge in allergies in recent years. Despite this, it can be difficult to identify the source of an allergic reaction. Many foods contain hidden allergens, which can make identifying and avoiding them a challenge. In this article, we will explore some of the secret allergens in modern foods and offer some tips on how to avoid them.
The Rise of Allergies
Before we dive into hidden allergens, it’s important to understand why allergies are on the rise. Several factors contribute to the prevalence of allergies in modern times. Firstly, our food has changed. We now process food in ways that were never done before- preservatives, flavor enhancers, and colorings are common additives. These additives can contain hidden allergens, which can trigger an allergic reaction.
Secondly, our environment has changed. Pollution, hygiene, and exposure to pets are some of the factors that can influence our body’s immune system and cause it to be more sensitive to allergens. Lastly, our genetics may play a role in the increase in allergies.
Given these factors, it’s unsurprising that allergies are becoming more common. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. alone, the prevalence of food allergies increased by 50% between 1997 and 2011. The prevalence of allergies has increased so much that it has resulted in the creation of medications such as Singulair.
If you are looking for ways to save on Singulair prescriptions, you may want to explore the Singulair Savings Offer or other available programs that could help lower the costs of this medication. Always consult your healthcare provider for the best advice on managing allergies and medication options.
Hidden Allergens in Modern Foods
Now that we understand why allergies are on the rise let’s take a closer look at some of the hidden allergens in modern foods. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a starting point for identifying hidden allergens in the foods we eat.
Soy: Soy can be found in many foods that you wouldn’t expect, including candy bars, cereals, bread, and potato chips. Soy is also used as an emulsifier in many food products, such as sauces, dressings, and soups.
Milk: Milk can be found in many forms, such as cheese, yogurt, and butter. But it is also a common ingredient in baked goods and processed foods such as chocolate, caramel, and tuna fish. Reading labels and checking for ingredients is essential when it comes to identifying milk in the food you eat.
Peanuts: Peanut butter, of course, is the first food that comes to mind when we think of peanuts, but they can be found in many different processed foods such as snacks, baked goods, and even chili.
Shellfish: Shrimp, crab, and lobster are well-known sources of shellfish in our diet. However, shellfish can also be found in some unexpected places, such as pizza toppings, Worcestershire sauce, and dressing.
Eggs & Wheat: Eggs and wheat are found in many dishes, including pasta, bread, and pancakes. It is also used as an agent in various baked goods, snacks, and cooking oils. People with celiac disease must be careful when consuming wheat and similar products.
These hidden allergens can be difficult to detect, especially when you are eating at a restaurant. However, being aware of them can be a great starting point for avoiding foods that might trigger an allergic reaction.
Tips for Avoiding Hidden Allergens
If you suspect that a hidden allergen is giving you trouble, it’s important to take steps to avoid it. Here are some tips on how to avoid hidden allergens:
Read the Label: Always check the label of any packaged foods you buy. Be sure to read through the entire ingredient list. Look for any potential allergens and take note of them.
Ask for Help: If you are allergic to certain foods, be sure to let the restaurant or catering staff know ahead of time so they can make the proper arrangements for your meal. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your server about the ingredients for additional clarity.
Avoid Cross-Contamination: When cooking at home, be careful not to cross-contaminate foods that might trigger an allergic reaction. Ensuring food preparation surfaces, utensils, and cookware are properly cleaned is equally important.
Be Prepared: It is important to carry emergency medication and to know how to use it if you suffer an allergic reaction. Medication such as Singulair can be a lifesaver and is often prescribed to individuals with allergies.
In conclusion, hidden allergens are a real and growing threat to our food supply. Understanding and avoiding these allergens can be a critical part of managing allergic reactions. Remember, always read labels, inform restaurant staff of your allergies, make sure your food preparation area is clean, and always carry medication like Singulair if you have at-risk allergies. With these steps, you can take control of your allergies and lead a safer, healthier life.