Last weekend I was at a family gathering. Amidst all that excitement, I made a shocking discovery as I was talking to one of my cousins who is in her 50s. She mentioned that she had recently been diagnosed with severe “flax seed allergy”. Prior to that, she had no food allergies so; it had been quite a challenge for her and her allergist to zero in on the possible allergen. That is one of the difficulties of developing food allergies at a later stage in life because we have already included hundreds of food items in our diet.
With all the recent hype about the nutritive value of flax seed – it has become ubiquitous in many dishes in small amounts…yogurt, desserts, breads, pancakes, waffles, entrees, as an egg replacer and so much more. I myself add crushed flax seeds in a lot of dishes to increase its healthy fat content. This just adds to the list of unbelievable things people can be allergic to like mustard, honey dew, watermelon, banana and what next? L
No doubt that flax seed is extremely nutritious…it is high in alpha linolenic acid, a type of plant-derived omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber. It has been shown to help lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels and may also help lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure.
However the incident with my cousin was an eye-opener for me – when we add new food items to an allergic kids list, there is nothing like being ‘too careful’. Even if something is purported to be very nutritious we cannot indiscriminately include it in the diet of a person dealing with food allergies. Also, just because a person is not allergic to something today does not mean that they will not develop a reaction to it later on in life.