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Healthline Physical Health

9 common foods that cause allergies

Any time people eat, they come in contact with substances that could trigger allergic reactions. Although people can have these reactions due to many foods, just a handful of foods cause most allergies.

Foods contain protein allergens. For the majority of people, these proteins do not trigger an allergic reaction. While many foods can cause an allergic reaction, only nine common foods cause 90%Trusted Source of allergies in the United States. These are:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • tree nuts like almonds or pecans
  • peanuts
  • wheat
  • soybeans
  • sesame

Children most commonly experience food allergies to peanuts, milk, soybean, tree nuts, eggs, and wheat, but many children stop being allergic to foods like milk, egg, wheat, and soy early in their childhood.

Adults with food allergies typically react to tree nuts, peanuts, fish, and shellfish. When a person thinks they have a food allergy but is not sure what food they are reacting to, an allergist can recommend a food allergy test. This can be done via either a skin or a blood test.

This article looks at the different types of common food allergies, the symptoms of each allergy, and what people can do to avoid a reaction. In severe cases, food allergies can lead to a serious and sometimes fatal allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. A person experiencing this severe reaction should seek medical attention immediately. Whenever possible people should keep epinephrine on hand and use it to treat anaphylaxis immediately.


Like many food allergies, an egg allergy is common in childhood. The major proteins that cause an allergic reaction to eggs are ovomucoid, ovalbumin, and ovotransferrin.

Some people can consume baked or cooked eggs without getting an allergic reaction, but not others. Some people might also get an allergic reaction to eggs if they are allergic to the bird that laid the egg or its feathers. This is called bird-egg syndromeTrusted Source.

Egg allergy symptoms

Symptoms of an egg allergy can include vomiting, stomach pain, indigestion, wheezing, or cough. The best way to avoid an allergic reaction to eggs is to avoid eating eggs or food products that contain them.

An allergy to eggs is not the same as egg intolerance. Learn more about egg intolerance.


Adults are more likely to have an allergic reaction to fish and shellfish than children. Some people will get reactions from only certain types of fish, and others can react to all fish. The degree of reaction can vary depending on the type of fish that people eat.
Most people who have an allergy to fish will react to the protein allergen called parvalbumin. Cooking does not destroy these proteins, which means that people can have reactions to both cooked and raw fish.

Fish allergy symptoms

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to fish can include a skin rash. People can also get a runny nose, sneezing, or symptoms of asthma. For people who are allergic to fish, avoiding fish and fish products is key.


An allergy to cow’s milk is one of the most common food allergies in childhood. A person can have a reaction even to small amounts of milk or from eating dairy products.
Some nursing babies will experience colic or eczema if the mother has consumed cow’s milk or eaten dairy products.
Many children will outgrow a milk allergy. A study from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) shows that 53% of infants under age one are allergic to milk, but only 15% of adolescents.
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