While there are any number of foods that cause allergic reactions, experts have identified the “Big 8” which account for roughly 90 percent of all food allergies. Soy allergies are among those eight.
While some foods such as peanuts commonly cause life-threatening reactions, soy bean allergy tends to be milder. It often starts in infancy with a reaction to soy-based infant formula. It is common for people to outgrow soy allergies as they leave childhood (often by age 10). However, some people may retain the allergy into adulthood or even develop it for the first time later in life.
Soy allergies commonly cause an itchy mouth, rash (such as hives and eczema), respiratory problems (from inflamed airways), and gastrointestinal distress. Reactions usually occur shortly after eating the soy-based food.
Avoiding Soy Allergies
Soy can be tricky to steer clear of because it is found in many foods. The obvious ones include soy milk, soy sauce or shoyu, and soy beans (edamame). It is also found in tofu as well as some baked goods, canned meats, cereal, energy bars, and canned broths and soups.
When eating out, communicate with your server. They can check with the chef to ensure that soy is not included in the food items you wish to order. When shopping, read labels carefully. Some items contain soy oil, but note that many people with soy allergies are able to eat this oil without a reaction. It is generally recommended that people with soy allergies avoid Asian food because soy sauce is such a prominent ingredient. Even if the menu item doesn’t contain soy sauce, there is a relatively high risk of cross-contamination.
If you battle soy and other food allergies, consider food allergy treatment through sublingual immunotherapy which involves daily drops under the tongue. The allergy drops contain antigen that can help your body develop an immunity to the foods that once triggered allergic reactions, enabling you to eat more of what you want without harming your overall health.