Food allergies aren’t just something that occurs in childhood.
As you age, food allergies and sensitivities may suddenly appear. When it happens, it can be alarming. Foods your parents used to love are now causing issues like nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
It’s Food Allergy Action Month.
What are some of the most common food allergies? How can you tell if your parents are dealing with food intolerance and allergies to the foods they eat or if there’s something else going on?
Common Food Sensitivities and Allergies
Food intolerance may be a sensitivity or an allergy. Symptoms range from bloating and constipation to abdominal pain and diarrhea. They can trigger headaches, rashes, and fatigue. It can take up to two days for symptoms to appear in mild cases, so it often makes it hard to pinpoint exactly what food it is that caused the reaction. Keep a food diary and try to catch patterns.
-Caffeine is found in everything from coffee and tea to sodas and energy drinks. It’s in chocolate and some bottled waters. Most people handle caffeine well, but others may become anxious, restless, and experience a rapid heart rhythm. If your mom or dad has issues with caffeine, switch to decaf and limit chocolate.
-Dairy is one of the leading food groups to cause food intolerance. For many adults, it’s the lactose that causes the problems, but some are also allergic or sensitive to milk proteins. Pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea are common symptoms.
-Fructose is a type of sugar that’s found in so many things. It’s linked to increased cases of diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, and obesity. Some people have a more challenging time with fructose, and it’s not as easily absorbed. Because it’s not being absorbed into the bloodstream, it enters the digestive system, where it ferments and causes digestive issues like abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
-Gluten, which is found in barley, rye, triticale, and wheat, is also common. Headache, bloating, and abdominal pain are common symptoms. Celiac disease may be present. If it is, the body’s immune response attacks the gluten in the small intestine and causes damage. It’s important to see a doctor to rule out celiac disease.
Arrange to Have Someone Helping With Meals and Snacks
When food allergies are present, more attention is needed to following your mom and dad’s doctor’s recommendations. Make sure they’re choosing the right foods when they go shopping. If they can’t read the labels, someone needs to shop with them. Have a home care aide prepare meals that meet their dietary needs. Call a home care agency to learn more.