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Aging and Food Allergies

Aging and Food Allergies

In recent years, a lot of news coverage has been devoted to the subject of food allergies and children. An equally important topic–food allergies and older adults–has all but been ignored, despite the fact that as our immune systems age, late-onset food allergies often emerge.

That's why ATRIO Health Plans is spotlighting the increasing incidence of food allergies among seniors, symptoms of food allergies, and ways to best manage food allergies.

Common Food Allergies and Symptoms

Among those age 65 and older, the most common food allergies are linked to:

  • Peanuts and tree nuts;
  • Dairy products;
  • Alcohol;
  • Fruits;
  • Vegetables;
  • Shellfish;
  • Soy;
  • Gluten.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it's important to schedule an appointment with your doctor:

  • Sneezing, inflamed sinuses, and/or eye irritation;
  • Anaphylaxis, which is a closing of the windpipe;
  • Dry, red, itchy skin;
  • Hives;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Sudden drop in blood pressure;
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, or throat;
  • Nausea, diarrhea, or other intestinal issues.

Managing Food Allergies

Step one in managing food allergies is scheduling an appointment with your doctor and following the treatment plan he or she develops. Other proactive food-allergy-management steps include:

  • Read food labels with an eye toward spotting problematic ingredients.
  • Be aware that there's now a wide assortment of dairy-free and gluten-free products.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by washing dishes, cutting boards, and other utensils that possibly could transfer allergens.
  • Review restaurant menus online prior to arrival in an effort to avoid items or ingredients that may trigger allergies.
  • Don't assume that family member and friends are aware of your food allergies. If your concerned about a dish's ingredients, don't hesitate to remind them about your food allergies.
  • Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and herring, as well as plant-based sources such as flax, chia seeds, walnuts, and canola oil.
  • Drink six to eight glasses of water each day.
  • Increase daily probiotic intake by consuming yogurt or kefir.
  • Avoid trans fats and saturated fats, both of which can exacerbate food-allergy reactions.
  • Strive for 30 minutes of physical activity, five days per week, as this can help maintain a healthy immune system.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, meaning one drink per day for women and two drinks daily for men.

Food allergies are far from fun, but–fortunately–they are absolutely manageable. Bon appétit!

Sources:

https://www.comfortkeepers.com/home/info-center/senior-health-wellbeing/food-allergies-detection-and-management-for-senior

https://www.seniorcaring.com/resources/food-allergies-in-the-elderly

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1015p76.shtml