imPRESSice - Free of commonly known allergens

Blog by Kirsten Sylvester and imPRESSice. Visit: www.impressice.co.za

"One of the most important elements when creating imPRESSice was to create a nutritious offering for children containing no commonly known allergens, and we pulled it off!

Our range is FREE OF COMMONLY KNOWN ALLERGENS, and here is why:

According to the Allergy Foundation South Africa (AFSA), a food allergy is an exaggerated reaction that involves the immune system triggered by exposure to an allergen such as peanuts. An allergic reaction can range from mild to severe-life threatening.

Kirstin Sylvester, registered dietitian, states that many individuals do not understand the difference between allergy and intolerance.

It is essential to differentiate between food allergies and food intolerances. A food intolerance is a reaction that does not involve the immune system but rather the digestive system and is not life-threatening.

The eight major food allergens are cow's milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, soybean and wheat.

According to AFSA, 2.5% of urban children in Cape Town have a food allergy. While this percentage may seem small, Kirstin highlights the importance of all families understanding allergies and their life-threatening implications if not managed correctly. As a dietitian working with children and families, Kirstin feels it is critical on a community level that all parents, teachers, creches and schools be aware of allergens. A key element in the management of food allergies includes recognition and management of accidental exposure.

For many children, school birthdays are an exciting time where food is used to celebrate the occasion. However, it can be extremely difficult for children with food allergies as they often cannot eat the same thing as the rest of the class. To combat this, Kirstin encourages parents to be inclusive when selecting food being sent to school. As a registered dietitian, Kirstin feels it is vital to provide nutritious snacks to children made from whole foods which are inclusive for all children and their varying dietary needs. Kirstin loves the imPRESSice event boxes and feels they are a nutritious, fun snack perfect for school birthday parties as the brand is conscious of allergens, and children love the bright lollies with beautiful packaging and cute characters.

Just a couple of interesting facts on the common allergens from the AFSA are that, "Cows milk allergy affects 2-7.5% of infants and children, and is common in the first 3 years of life."

"Peanut allergy may cause the most problems of the food allergies because it is common and hard to avoid." "In some cases even tiny amounts can cause reactions. Peanuts are one of the most common causes of severe food allergy/anaphylaxis."

"Egg allergy affects about 2% of infants and children and is most common in the first 3 years of life."

"Soy allergy is generally more common in children than adults but can develop at any time, even in persons who previously tolerated soy. Soy allergy can also co-exist with cows protein allergy."

"Wheat allergy is much less common than milk, egg and peanut allergy. Wheat allergy may occur in adults but is usually outgrown in childhood."

Kirsten Sylvester is a Registered Dietician RD, SA. Follow her @the_healthtician. Or visit www.thehealthtitian.co.za

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