Exploring the Intersection of Mental and Physical Health: The Connection Between Food Allergies and Reactions

When it comes to food allergies, cross-reactivity can occur when the proteins of one substance are similar to the proteins of another, causing the immune system to recognize them as the same. This can happen between food and other substances, such as pollen or latex. When the body's immune system perceives food as an invader, it triggers an allergic reaction, releasing chemicals such as histamine into the body. This can lead to a range of symptoms, from hives and vomiting to tightness in the throat, hoarseness, coughing, breathing problems, or a drop in blood pressure. Studies have already demonstrated a link between stress, inflammation, and disease.

If you ever eat due to stress, your chances of developing inflammation and food allergies increase. This then leads to effects on both mental and physical health. Additionally, hives may appear around the area of the mouth where food came into contact with the skin or swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat tightness may occur. Food intolerance symptoms may appear immediately or take 12 to 24 hours to show up. In some cases, the body can tolerate food if it is avoided for a while and then reintroduced in small doses.

The prevalence of food allergy varies widely due to different methods for defining a food allergy as well as geographical differences. Food intolerance does not show up in allergy testing either. Food allergy and asthma are interconnected beyond comorbidity. The most common food allergens in young children are milk (2.5%), eggs (1.3%), peanuts (0.8%), wheat (0.4%), soy (0.4%), nuts (0.2%), fish (0.1%) and shellfish (0.1%). However, food intolerance does not affect the immune system and does not cause serious allergic reactions (known as anaphylaxis).Unfortunately, there is no cure for food allergies yet; however, promising preventive and therapeutic strategies are being developed.

Food allergy can be classified as IgE food allergies and non-IgE-mediated food allergies; the latter is less well described and less understood from an immunological perspective. Symptoms of food intolerance may include nausea, gas, cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritability, or headaches. With more than 50 million Americans affected by environmental allergies, food allergies, and other allergic diseases, it's likely that you or someone you know is managing one or more of these conditions.