FOOD POISONING AND FOOD ALLERGY
Food poisoning is an acute upset of the digestive tract characterized by sudden nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
following consumption of contaminated food or drinks.Usually several people when have consumed the same food or drink are simultaneously affected and show similar symptoms and signs.
Food poisoning is caused by -
a) Poisonous Food
b) Chemicals in food
c) Infected food
d) Toxins in food.
a) Poisonous food- certain fish, mushrooms or fruits are poisonous. Hence it is better to avoid unknown food.
b)Chemicals in food poisoning- Food contaminated with chemicals like arsenic insecticides, rat poison, pesticides or prohibited food items and colors gives rise to acute or chronic food poisoning.
c) Infected food- This is commonest cause of food poisoning which is caused by contamination of food by germs. Salmonella, i.e. typhi group of organisms.It is not possible to know if the food is contaminated by germs or not by viewing it externally. If food is left open at room temperature for a few hours, germs can grow on it and lead to food poisoning.
d)Toxic food poisoning - This variety is caused by toxins created by germs.
Lets have a look on next..is this food allergy or food intolerance.??
a) Lactose intolerance
Lactose is a sugar found in milk and most milk products. Lactase is an enzyme in the lining of the gut that breaks down or digests lactose. Lactose intolerance occurs when lactose is missing. Instead of the enzyme breaking down the sugar, bacteria in the gut break it down, which forms gas, which in turn causes symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain, and sometimes diarrhea.
Lactose intolerance is uncommon in babies and young children under the age of 5 years. Because lactase levels decline as people get older.
b) Gluten intolerance
Gluten is a part of wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten intolerance is associated with celiac disease, also called gluten-sensitive enteropathy. This disease develops when the immune system responds abnormally to gluten.
c) Histamine toxicity
Fish, such as tuna and mackerel that are not refrigerated properly and become contaminated by bacteria, may contain very high levels of histamine. A person who eats such fish may show symptoms that are similar to food allergy. However, this reaction is not a true allergic reaction. Instead, the reaction is called histamine toxicity or scombroid food poisoning.
The most important to know some specific food and natural toxins in it....
Food contains natural chemicals that are essential for growth and health, including carbohydrates, sugars, proteins and vitamins. But some foods contain potentially harmful natural toxins.
The reason for the presence of natural toxins is not always known. In some foods, a toxin is present as a naturally occurring pesticide to ward off insect attack. Or a toxin may be formed to protect the plant from spoilage when damaged by weather, handling, UV light or microbes.
Your own sensitivity to a natural toxin, as well as the concentration (strength) of the toxin present, will determine whether you have an adverse reaction and the strength of symptoms you experience.
The commonly eaten foods listed below may contain natural toxins.....
1)Fruit seeds and pit -Apple and pear seeds and the inner stony pit (kernel) of apricots and peaches contain a naturally occurring substance called amygdalin.
Amygdalin can release hydrogen cyanide in the gut causing discomfort or illness. It can be fatal if too much is consumed in a short period of time.
Accidental swallowing of an occasional seed or pip is not a concern. However, do not make a habit of eating the seeds from these fruits. For a young child, swallowing only a few seeds or pits may cause illness and in rare cases can be fatal.
2) Kumara a kind of sweet potato family - can produce toxins in response to injury, insect attack and other stress. The most common toxin, ipomeamarone, can make the kumara taste bitter.The toxin levels are usually highest near the area of damage. It is recommended that any damaged parts on kumara are removed before cooking. Do not eat it if it tastes bitter after cooking.
3)Potato - All potatoes contain natural toxins called glycoalkaloids. The levels are usually low but higher levels are found in potato sprouts, and the peel of potatoes that taste bitter. The toxins are produced by the plant in response to stress such as micro-organisms, UV light, and damage such as bruising. The amount of toxin depends on the type of potato and the growing conditions.Glycoalkaloids are not destroyed by cooking, so it is important to avoid eating the sprouts and to remove any green or damaged parts before cooking. Do not eat cooked potatoes that still taste bitter. If you come across a green potato crisp, it’s probably best not to eat it. Remember to store potatoes in a dark, cool and dry place.
4) Kidney beans -Many types of beans contain toxins called lectins. The highest concentrations are found in kidney beans, especially red kidney beans. As few as four or five raw beans can cause severe stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhea. To destroy the toxins, soak the beans for at least five hours and then boil them briskly in fresh water for at least 10 minutes. Do not cook beans at a low temperature, for example in a slow cooker, as it may not destroy the toxin. Improperly cooked beans can be more toxic than raw ones. Tinned beans can be used without further cooking.
5)Rhubarb -Rhubarb contains naturally occurring oxalic acid. The amount depends on the age of the plant, the season, the climate and the type of soil. Highest concentrations are in the leaves and these should not be eaten.
Oxalic acid poisoning can cause muscle twitching, cramps, decreased breathing and heart action, vomiting, pain, headache, convulsions and coma.
6)Zucchini - may occasionally contain a group of natural toxins known as cucurbitacins. These toxins give zucchini a bitter taste. Bitterness in wild zucchinis has been known for a long time but is rarely found in commercially grown zucchinis.Eating bitter zucchinis have caused people to experience vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea and collapse. Do not eat zucchini that have a strong unpleasant smell or taste bitter.
7) Bamboo shoots -A naturally occurring toxin called cyanogenic glycosides in raw or unprocessed cassava and bamboo shoots can lead to exposure to hydrogen cyanide and its related toxicity.