Corn allergy occurs in adults as well as in children. When a person becomes allergic to corn, his body develops antibodies against the corn proteins.
Therefore, once a person consumes corn products or even inhales their particles or pollen grains, the immune system reacts against them , resulting in allergic reactions to the body.
Although a corn allergy is not very prevalent in numbers, currently only a few million people worldwide are diagnosed with it, it is probably one of the most difficult allergies to control in today’s society. This is because finding healthy snacks without corn, and any of its derivatives, has permeated every segment of our society.
The corn crop in the United States as a cash crop is so prevalent, many farmers rely on this staple as the majority of their annual income. In the manufacturing community therefore, corn in all of its forms when processed is cheap, plentiful and cost effective for a manufacturer to maintain a steady supply so he is able to get the necessary quantity of goods to the selling market.
Common Sources Of Corn
Corn is used in almost every single prepared dish that anyone makes, whether that be in the food industry or all the way down to your own personal kitchen. The obvious are cans of corn, hominy or succotash but keep your eyes open and routinely check ingredient labels for some of the following:
- Corn Flour
- Corn Syrup (HFCS)
- Corn Meal
- Corn Alcohol
Many snack foods also are prepared with corn such as corn chips, corn nuts or corn curls. But some of the not so obvious that you must look out for include:
- Modified food starch (can be corn, wheat or soy based)
- Citric acid – which can be corn or fruit based
- Vanilla oils and extracts
People do not often think of it but corn does not only show up in our food supply. Many of the following industries use corn for multi-purposes. Some of these product lines include:
- Cosmetics – uses corn as a drying/anti-caking agent
- Medications – both over-the-counter and prescription use corn starch and corn syrup
- IV Fluids are generally corn-based Dextrose as a line of first choice
- Candles, room air fresheners, soaps and shampoos plus conditioners, hand lotions plus many others generally start with (corn) ethyl alcohol.
- In your garage or tool shed is plant foods and pesticides which usually use corn based ingredients as fillers
Symptoms of Corn Allergy
Symptoms of corn allergy vary from mild to severe,also it was found that it varies from person to person, when a person is more sensitive to corn, eating a small amount of corn can lead to symptoms.
Among these symptoms:
- Abdominal pain and bloating.
- Itchy skin.
- Swelling of the tongue and mouth.
- High temperature.
How To Stay Safe
Life unfortunately is not just “one great big bubble”. With a corn allergy you are going to be bombarded with corn in places you never would have imagined it could possibly be there.
Your #1 rule is now learning how to avoid it and still keep yourself safe. First, get in the habit that you prepare all of your own food.
Some good substitutions for corn in the kitchen include:
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
Many of these above can be combined or used as a direct replacement for ingredients in any of your current favorite recipes.
The largest impact on your life though will be the time and safety measures you will have to institute and enforce for your own health. Get in the habit, every time you leave your house for any reason, take a food safe snack or meal with you. Circumstances can always vary and a quick trip to the mall can get extended. With your newly diagnosed corn allergy, you no longer have the option of just picking up a quick grab and go snack on your way to anywhere.
Corn Free Foods
The need for corn free foods or healthy snacks is becoming more evident. People with allergies to corn have a difficult road ahead of them. This particular condition can range in severity from mild to potentially fatal.
Learning how to avoid corn protein is often the biggest challenge for people with corn allergies. This particular ingredient is common in everything from foods to hair care products, to surgical gloves and adhesives.
Foods To Avoid
Beyond the obvious ear of corn, people with this particular allergic condition also need to steer clear of a variety of food products that are derived from this ingredient. In addition to cornstarch, corn nuts and corn cakes, people should look out for ingredients like:
- Corn oil
- Corn syrup
- Artificial sweeteners
- Chicken (usually fed a corn-based meal)
- Postage stamps and envelopes
Reading Labels Is A Must
Unfortunately for those with allergies to corn, this particular product is used in making a variety of foods. Cutting corn out completely can be very difficult unless diligence is exercised when selecting products.
To this end, reading ingredient labels is an absolute must. Because of the common use of cornstarch, corn syrup and other corn-based products in a variety of foods, it is imperative to suspect the use of corn in just about everything and read the label to prove otherwise.
The following is a list of foods that commonly contain corn in the ingredients even if they might not appear to have it on the surface:
- Processed cheeses
- Ice cream
- Fish sticks
- Soda pop
- Bleached flour
- Baking powder
- Cake yeast
- Jams and jellies
Snacking With A Corn Allergy
When this allergic condition is present, snacking can pose a very big challenge. Many treats and snacks have corn-based products in their composition. Candy, for example, might contain corn syrup. In addition to learning what to avoid, sufferers of corn allergy can also study up on what they can eat in the way of corn free snacks. Some options include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Pure chocolate products, but reading the label is still advised
- Fresh honey from a local-sourced beekeeper where you can confirm his bees are not fed a supplemental diet of HFCS
- Rice-based snacks
- Homemade treats that use completely corn free foods as alternatives
Corn free foods are available. The trick is learning to read labels to find them and avoid other products that could be potentially harmful.