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Give Allergies for ‘Food Colour’ a Time-Out!

Posted by
 Dr Batra’s™  July 7, 2020

Have your food allergies been holding you back from experimenting with food? Are you unable to enjoy being a foodie that you always have been, trying out the latest cuisines wherever you go? Has the food that once used to entice you with its beautiful colours and varied spread now started bothering you? Well, it’s time you give allergies for food colour a time out! Let’s find out how.

What are food colour allergies?

Allergy is an abnormal or exaggerated response triggered by your immune system to otherwise harmless agents in the environment.

In case of food colour allergy, your immune system reacts to specific coloured food that is consumed.

Few of the food colouring agents are:

  • Tartrazine is a synthetic food colour used to give food a yellow colour. This is used in cosmetics, personal care products and certain foods. It is known to be the most allergic of all the colouring agents.
  • Carmine gives a red colour to the food. It is present in red meat and is a natural food colour. It can be found in burgers, soft drinks, fruit yogurts. Though non-synthetic, it can lead to mild to moderate allergic symptoms  when consumed.
  • Annatto gives food a yellow-orange colour. It comes from the annatto seed. It can give rise to mild to moderate allergic symptoms.

How does it present?

For some people, an allergic reaction to a particular food may be uncomfortable but not severe. For other people, an allergic reaction to food colours can be frightening and even life-threatening. Food allergy symptoms usually develop within 24-48 hours after consumption of the allergic food.

The commonest food allergy symptoms are:

  • Urticaria (Hives) all over the body with extreme redness and itching that may last from few minutes to hours and days
  • Difficulty in breathing with chest tightness and mild asthmatic attacks
  • Headaches
  • Flushing with discomfort
  • Facial swelling
  • Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin)

How can you know that you have food colour allergy?

Diagnosis of food colour allergy is usually done by food provocation test or food elimination test.

  • Food provocation test involves exposing the individual to suspected allergic coloured foods and testing for a reaction. This needs to be done under a clinical setup to tackle the allergy symptoms if any.
  • Food elimination test is done by removing certain items in food to check if the allergy symptoms subside. Keeping a food diary or a food log helps pinpoint the specific allergy a person may be suffering from.
  • Skin prick test is another method used to detect food allergies. Here, multiple pricks are done on the skin using different food agents and their reactions are observed to detect specific allergies.

What can you do if you have been diagnosed as having a food colour allergy?

While food colour allergies may be mild, prolonged exposure to allergic foods may lead to chronic urticaria, eczema or asthma.

Allergies treatment helps control the symptoms of allergy and reduce its recurrence.

While allopathic medications like antihistamines help relieve the allergies symptoms, prolonged use of them can cause side-effects like drug resistance. Alternative allergies treatment like homeopathy helps remove the allergy from the root.

Homeopathic treatment for allergies helps restore the hypersensitive immune system to normalcy, thereby bringing about a reduction in the intensity and frequency of the abnormal response eventually leading to a permanent long-lasting absence of the symptoms.

Along with allergy treatment in homeopathy , an avoidance of allergic foods can also help bring about faster recovery from the allergy.

Foods like jams, jellies, soft and fruit drinks, condiments, cakes, pastries, canned foods, ice-creams, chips, processed foods, instant foods, wines and other liquor if avoided can also help in the treatment of food colour allergy.

So in case you find your allergies coming in the way of your food fantasies, it's time to visit your doctor!