Not one of the top 8, but corn is a major allergen. I was surprised by who many readers had commented on the other allergen posts that they had a corn allergy. So of course, I wanted to help out and do some corn-free research! I can only begin by telling you that corn is everywhere and in tons of things. To make matters worse, most of the corn in the American diet is GMO...big time. But before we get in to that, let's talk about the symptoms of a corn allergy.
Like any food allergy, symptoms and tolerance range in severity. You can get itching, hives, swelling of the mouth, tongue, face, etc., difficulty breathing, congestion or runny nose, dizziness, digestive upsets, nausea, or full on anaphylaxis which requires an Epi-Pen and trip to the ER. A corn allergy is one of the more difficult to get a definitive "blood test" diagnosis because it's has similar characteristics of other allergens such as pollen, grasses, seeds, and grains. To combat the allergen you must stay away from all corn and corn products. Corn is in many processed foods and sweeteners which can make things tricky and difficult. Cross contamination is also a huge concern. Since you can't substitute "corn" itself, you just have to avoid it and possible contamination through reading labels, asking questions, and monitoring preparation (don't let someone dust a pan with corn meal or try that potato in corn oil!)
In some severe cases, animals that are corn-fed, be that cows for beef or even milk, pigs, etc., consuming these products can cause a reaction. Again, this is very rare, but it also brings me to the point about GMOs. Since GMOs are relatively new in terms of evolution, we really won't know the true impact of them on human health for years. But isn't it interesting how with the rise of GMOs, children are more commonly born with food allergies, asthma, intolerance, autoimmune disorders, etc. Children and adults are developing allergies left and right as well. Since corn is THE biggest GMO crop in the US, with its mass production, it is used in everything, from sweeteners (and high fructose corn syrup), in processed meats, feed to factory farm animals (Very unhealthy. That is not their natural diet and makes them extremely ill), starch which is found is almost every processed food, to even toothpaste. Corn, itself, natural and non-gmo, is a wonderful grain and crop. It's one of those that I always buy organic and non-gmo. Again, these correlations are very interesting (and disturbing).
So tell me:
+ Do you or do you know someone with a corn allergy?
+ How do you feel about the GMO and food allergy/intolerance correlation?
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