A food allergy is an auto-immune response to a protein in a food. A food allergy occurs when the body believes a food that you have consumed is harmful. The body responds by releasing several chemicals in an attempt to protect your body from the perceived harmful food. The chemicals that are released can impact the respiratory system (shortness of breath, wheezing), digestive tract (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), skin (hives, rash, or swelling of the hands, mouth, or face), or cardiovascular system (weakened pulse, dizziness).
There are 8 major allergens that make up approximately 90% of food allergies. These are wheat, eggs, milk, soy, crustacean shellfish, fish, tree nuts, and peanuts. There are more than 160 foods that have been known to cause food allergens. Food allergies can be confirmed through testing with a physician.