Chia seed is one of the most nutritious seeds that everyone should eat to maintain a healthy body and well-being. This seed contains omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. All these nutrients are enjoyed by people who consume chia seeds regularly. Unfortunately, not all can readily enjoy chia seed and its benefits because there are people who are allergic to it. This article will discuss the causes, symptoms, tests, and treatments for chia seed allergy.
Chia Seed Allergy Causes
Chia seed allergy is a type of food allergy, which is an exaggerated immune response triggered by substances found in food. Substances that trigger allergic reaction are called allergens. Proteins are the most common allergens found in foods like chia seeds.
Although rare, some people can be allergic to chia seeds. Their immune system mistakenly identifies a protein in chia seed as dangerous foreign body similar to viruses, bacteria, and toxins.
Thinking that the protein is going to attack the body, the immune system triggers an allergic reaction causing the appearance of symptoms.
Symptoms of Chia Seed Allergy
The symptoms of chia seed allergy are similar to the symptoms of food allergy which include hives, wheezing, abdominal pain, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, fainting, stomach cramps, vomiting, nasal congestion, nausea, runny nose, itching of the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, and lips, and swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, and tongue. These symptoms usually begin within two hours after eating.
The life threatening symptoms of chia seeds allergy are tightening of the lungs, drop in blood pressure, and swelling of the lungs.
After experiencing symptoms, you can be tested if you are indeed allergic to chia seeds. Your doctor will perform skin test or blood test.
In skin test, a substance from chia seed is made to scratch on the skin. The appearance of rash or bump in the skin can confirm chia seed allergy.
In blood test, the amount of immunoglobulin E is measured in blood. A rise in immunoglobulin E indicates a recent allergic reaction.
Besides skin and blood test, a provocative (challenge) testing can also be done. In this test, the patient is allowed to eat a small amount of chia seed but under medical supervision as this test provokes severe allergic reactions.
The only proven treatment for chia seed allergy is to avoid eating chia seed. Discontinue eating chia seeds if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. Then ask your doctor to administer allergy tests on you to determine if chia seed triggers allergic reaction into your body.
Antihistamines can be taken to relieve the symptoms. Epinephrine shot should be administered if the symptoms are already serious (e.g. tightening of the lungs).