Allergens are allergy-causing substances. In general, the body can develop an allergy to any substance. However, there are considerable differences in the allergy potency of the individual substances, i.e. how aggressive a substance is.
People with an allergic disposition can react sensitively to a variety of foods. However, some foods are particularly often responsible for allergic reactions. A distinction is made among central, chronic and acute allergens.
Among the central allergens are cow's milk and wheat, and more rarely also hen's eggs. Since these are basic foods that are eaten nearly every day, their appearance is almost always "masked." This means that a direct connection between the consumption of the food and the allergic symptom is not immediately apparent. However, if a centrally effective allergen that was previously eaten daily is then omitted completely from the diet for three to four days, an acute allergy can be triggered after this waiting period if consumed again.
It is assumed that these central food allergies have a hereditary factor, i.e. they are anchored in the genes. All other allergies to food, animal hair or pollen have been acquired and are, so to speak, only grafted on to the basic allergen.
Nutrition without cow's milk
In the case of an allergy to cow's milk, the body develops antibodies to the protein components of milk. Incompatibilities to the sugar content (lactose) are also incorrectly referred to as allergies. However, this is a lack of fermentation -- so-called lactose intolerance -- which means that milk products cannot be digested due to the lack of enzymes. Incompatibilities to milk fat components are unknown. However, since it cannot be ruled out that traces of milk protein are also present in pure milk fat products such as cream and butter, these must also be avoided during the omission period.
Foods that contain or may contain cow's milk:
Cow's milk: In all variations (also in adapted hypoallergenic baby food)
Cow's milk products: Curd cheese, yogurt, kefir, skim milk, whey, crème fraîche, all types of cheese, butter, cream, margarine
Baked goods: Yeast bakery products, many types of bread, white flour rolls, snacks, cakes, pies, biscuits, waffles, various ready-to-serve cereals
Pasta and side dishes: Bread dumplings, many types of pasta, ready-made potato products such as mashed potatoes and dumplings, ready-made rice, sauerkraut
Desserts: Ice cream, chocolate, pralines, cereal bars, caramels, pudding, ready-made desserts, rice pudding, Gummibears
Sausages and meat products: Fresh sausage varieties (with addition of milk powder), canned meat, pâtés
Soups and sauces: Ready-made sauces, sauce thickeners, cream soups, soups with starch, sweet sauces
Bread spreads: Sweet nut spread like Nutella, vegetarian pastes
Other: Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, some medicines
Alternatives for cow's milk-free nutrition:
Milk and milk products from goat, sheep, mare, soy milk (Caution: if frequently consumed, also high allergic potential), baby food expressly declared as free from cow's milk, butter substitutes (Alsan, Becel, olive butter)
Other than cow's milk, wheat is the second foreign protein with which the body is confronted almost daily from birth in the form of porridge, bread, pastry and pasta. Even with a wheat allergy, the mere omission of foods that obviously contain wheat is not sufficient. Detective flair is often needed to find hidden wheat protein.
Foods that contain or may contain wheat:
Bread and bakery products: All types of bread (Beware!: Rye or spelt bread usually contains a certain amount of wheat flour), Zweiback, toast, biscuits, waffles, cakes, pastries, baking powder.
Pasta and side dishes: All types of pasta (except rice and spelt pasta), breadcrumbs, dumplings, porridge
Dairy products: Yogurt with wheat bran, porridge
Meat and sausage dishes: Meatballs, hot dogs, fresh sausage, pâtés, breaded meat
Drinks: Wheat beer, cocoa drinks
Candy: Chocolate or cereal bars, pudding, mousse, ready-made desserts
Other: Wheat bran, wheat germ, Host, potato chips, French fries (often fried in oil containing wheat germ), mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, vegetable oils, ready-to-eat sauces and spices, ready-to-eat meals
Alternatives for a wheat-free diet: Spelt, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa (always check in advance), rice and rice products, baby food labeled as wheat-free
Food additives include preservatives of all kinds, flavourings, emulsifiers, sweeteners, acidifiers, thickeners, flavor enhancers and coloring agents, but also antioxidants, i.e. substances added as protection against harmful oxygen reactions. People with an allergic disposition should therefore avoid foods with additives as much as possible.
Pollen allergy is one of the most widespread forms of allergy in the world. The symptoms in those affected are limited to the time of pollen dispersal of the respective triggering substance. However, pollen not only causes the well-known symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and irritated eyes, it can also cause or intensify asthmatic symptoms and dermatitis.
Allergies to animal hair have increased dramatically in recent years, especially among children. It was previously assumed that this development was encouraged by the increase of pets in homes and the sometimes close physical contact with animals. But recent studies now suggest a contradictory trend.
American scientists came to the astonishing conclusion that the presence of pets in the first months of life could reduce the risk of allergies in children. According to a current study of 500 children, those who grew up with at least two cats or dogs only had about half as many allergies as children without pets. These results correlate well with the "dirt theory" that has been discussed for some time. This theory states that the immune system of small children is not sufficiently trained by excessive hygiene. However, if someone in a family already suffers from an allergy, it is still the case that pets should generally be avoided.
House dust mites
The occurrence of house dust mites has nothing to do with uncleanliness. The microscopically small arachnids can be found almost everywhere in beds, upholstered furniture, carpets, pillows or soft toys. They feel particularly comfortable at temperatures around 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) and a relative humidity of around 70 percent. It is therefore difficult to escape them.
Only in mountain heights above 1,200 meters (4,000 feet) are these unpopular subtenants no longer able to survive. However, most allergy sufferers do not suffer from the mite itself but from its droppings. If a house dust mite allergy exists, care should be taken during furnishing to ensure that as little house dust as possible can accumulate.
In the case of mold, a distinction is made between fungi that live outdoors and those that settle indoors. If you are allergic to mold, you should know that the carrier of the allergy is not the fungus itself, but almost exclusively the fungal spores, which support the fungus in reproduction and distribution. And that makes the situation quite difficult, since the fine, invisible fungal spores fly by the billions through the air and reach the lungs via the respiratory tract, causing allergies.
Polyester fibers, such as those used in the manufacture of cuddly toys or the hair of dolls and stuffed animals, are responsible for the majority of children's allergies to synthetic substances. Polyester carries a particularly aggressive allergen potency and must always be considered as an allergy trigger in allergic children.
In recent years there has been a steady increase in allergies to medicines. Allergies to antibiotics and their related drugs, as well as to anti-rheumatics and painkillers, are particularly frequent. The main symptoms are skin rashes, but severe shock-like conditions are also possible. There is often a cross-allergy within a drug group.
A mercury allergy caused by amalgam dental fillings is worth a brief mention. There is no longer any doubt about the toxicity of mercury to humans. Less known, however, is that in the course of the years in which the amalgam remains in the body, an additional allergy to mercury can develop. Mercury allergy belongs to the group of central chronic allergies. This means that the body is permanently confronted with the allergy-causing substance, as is the case with dental fillings made of amalgam.
Imbalanced gut bacteria
Every day, we subject our digestive tract to an intensive exercise program because of bad, imbalanced, low-fiber diets. In addition, many of our foods are denatured and contaminated with pesticides and heavy metal residues. The notable consequences can be seen in such digestive disorders as constipation, diarrhea, flatulence and heartburn.
In this context, a certain yeast fungus comes to the fore, which is held responsible for a large number of health disorders: Candida albicans. The frequent consumption of readily available carbohydrates such as sugar, white flour and alcohol can more than double the fungal colony in one night.
It does not take long before the natural intestinal flora can no longer resist the fungus and is overwhelmed by it. The candida fungus can even develop into an independent allergen. this parasite plays a decisive role especially in neurodermatitis. Intestinal fungus infestation can provoke, intensify or imitate skin rashes. For this reason, it is essential to examine the stool of every neurodermatitis patient for Candida stress.
Most insect toxins enter the body through the bites of bees, wasps and mosquitoes. They are not a problem for a healthy organism. If the immune system is weakened, however, or there already exists a hereditary predisposition to an allergy, even harmless insect toxins can trigger severe allergic reactions, ranging from severe swelling to life-threatening shock.
In the case of an allergy to sunlight, a distinction is made between so-called photoallergic reactions and the popularly known "sun allergy" or "Mallorca acne." A photoallergy is caused by the interaction of UV light with a sensitizing substance, such as drugs or plant extracts. Known to trigger a photoallergic reaction are, for example, St. John's wort preparations, special antibiotics, and even meadow grasses, in which sunburn-like skin reactions can occur on contact with the skin and subsequent exposure to sunlight.
The increasingly frequent "sun allergy," which manifests itself in the form of itchy skin eczema on the skin areas exposed to radiation, seems consequent to an interplay of several factors, because to date no triggering allergens have been identified. It is assumed that the increased aggressiveness of the solar radiation caused by the reduction of the ozone layer, in combination with an individual's own sweat, interact to cause a reaction.