Chocolate Allergies and the Health Benefits
Today my friends I would like to discuss the facts about Chocolate Allergies and some alternatives, that will help satisfy those chocolate cravings. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Let’s face most of us do. Many of us crave that sweet chocolate flavor and can’t wait until we can sink our teeth in that delicious chocolate bar. If you’re one of those chocoholic who also happens to have a chocolate allergy, you may feel cursed. Especially around the holiday seasons and there are all kinds of chocolate goodies all around us. But there is good news these days –there might just be some ways that you will be able to enjoy that delicious chocolate flavor, without risking your health by having an allergic reaction.
Just some facts:
Cocoa is made from the seeds of the cocoa tree that have been fermented, roasted and then ground up. The cocoa tree originated in Central America but is now grown in tropical climates around the world.
True allergies to chocolate or cocoa are very rare. Other ingredients, additives or chemicals found in processed chocolate such as nuts, milk, gluten from wheat, soybeans, corn, syrup, caffeine, Theo-bromine, and Phenyl-ethylamine, cause most allergic reactions to chocolate.
There are many other common chocolate additives including flavorings like mint, dyes for hard candy coating and other products that may cause reactions. FDA regulations do not require that flavorings, dyes or other additives have to be indicated on the labels. To be sure you have a chocolate allergy you would have to be tested by a doctor.
If you do have a true chocolate allergy let me explain what happens–the proteins found in chocolate trigger the immune system to react. Antibodies and histamines are releases into the blood stream in an attempt to neutralize the chocolate protein. These chemicals trigger the allergic symptoms. In severe cases Epinephrine, also call Adrenaline, is administered to control the anaphylaxis reaction.
Some Chocolate Alternatives:
Just because you can’t tolerate chocolate doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in something sweet. Please make sure you read labels very carefully! Make sure you check with your doctor or health care provider before trying any of these.
1. If you’re sensitive to dairy or soy, you buy chocolate that’s Kosher for Passover chocolate which is free of both of these common allergens.
2. When you can’t find anything available in the store, you can make your own chocolate with allergy-approved ingredients. A number of allergy-free chocolate recipes are available online @ http://www.foodallergy.org/recipes/cat/meal/dessert— and many are very easy to make and will taste great.
3. Use carob instead of chocolate. This ingredient serves as a good substitute in many recipes and you can also buy carob bars, cookies and other treats. Many people find this option just as satisfying as chocolate and claim that they can’t tell any difference.
4. Buy the higher quality of chocolate, which lowers the chances of other additives.
If you find a commercial candy bar that meets your food safety requirements, it’s important to know that the snack size version may not be exactly the same. The AAAAI website @ (http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/food-allergies/food-allergy-free-recipes/food-allergy-free-holiday-recipes.aspx) lists a warning that many goodies have different ingredients than the larger sizes of the same thing. I’m sure you can understand why it’s so important to get all the facts before you indulge.
Let’s Talk About Some Health Benefits of Chocolate:
Some of the health benefits of eating dark chocolate, in moderation of course, are reducing the risk of heart disease and increase longevity. Antioxidants are also found in chocolate especially the dark chocolate and are believed to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood stream. Just because it tastes good does not mean that it is bad for you, so enjoy the occasional teat, you deserve it!
If you are one of those unfortunate people that has a True Chocolate Allergy I hope this information will be helpful to you.