Cocoa allergy is considered as an uncommon form of food allergy. It is important to note that those who have cocoa allergy are actually reacting to another component or ingredient present in the cocoa product.
What are the possible culprits?
When cocoa is ground into powder, the bean comes into contact with surfaces and other substances. The equipment that was used to process other products and the powder itself might be mixed with sweeteners and preservatives before added to a chocolate product.
The traditional chocolate bars might not only include cacao bean parts but also other ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, sugar, nuts, milk, soy, wheat, caffeine and corn syrup. If an individual has gluten or lactose intolerance, he/she can react to the wheat or milk content while those who have nut allergy might react to morsels of peanuts or peanut oil in any chocolate bars. In addition, chocolate might also contain nickel that can trigger skin reactions in some highly sensitive individuals.
Indications of cocoa allergy
The symptoms often linked with cocoa allergy or cocoa products include hives, headaches, breathing difficulty, rectal itchiness and confusion. In severe cases, being exposed can also cause anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening reaction that has the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Abrupt drop in the blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Loss of consciousness
Once an individual is experiencing anaphylaxis, it is vital to call for immediate medical care. If this reaction is not promptly treated, it can be life-threatening.
A doctor should be consulted so that proper assessment can be carried out to determine the exact cause of the condition. The doctor will perform a physical examination and ask for details on previous reactions such as how soon the reaction occurred after eating, foods eaten and the amount and if home remedies can alleviate the symptoms. From there, the doctor might recommend a skin test or blood test to check for any bodily reactions to specific allergens.
If the individual has cocoa allergy, it is vital to avoid all products that contain cocoa. Care must be observed when it comes to cola products since the antigens might be linked and trigger similar allergic reactions.
An individual might be allergic to an ingredient that is often mixed with cocoa in various products. It is vital to carefully read the ingredients listed on the labelling before consumption.