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Food allergies and intolerances can be a serious manner with consequences that range from physical discomfort, in the case of allergies, to life-threatening situations. Identifying food allergies and intolerances (e.g., celiac disease, lactose intolerance, histamine intolerance) and then living with them is an ongoing journey that involves learning about ourselves and the foods we prepare at home and eat in restaurants.
Fortunately, developers are creating more and more smartphone apps that help us navigate life with food allergies and intolerances. The following five apps provide a sampling of free and paid apps with functions that range from helping identify allergies and intolerances to purchasing foods that won’t trigger a reaction. They are available for iOS and Android devices and range in price from free to $5.99.1
1. Dining Out: AllergyEats
Others’ recommendations can be helpful, especially when it comes to going out to eat with a food allergy. Which ones are really gluten- or allergy-free, which ones are catering to dining trends and aren’t necessarily safe for those with medically related aversions to certain ingredients, and which ones won’t accommodate you at all? AllergyEats and its users can offer some direction.
AllergyEats started out as a website and is now available in app form, too. The database includes more than 600,000 restaurant listings nationwide, which range from “large chains to small mom and pops, from gourmet to greasy spoons,” according to allergyeats.com. Restaurant listings include peer reviews on allergy friendliness, contact information, certifications, allergen lists, menus and more. It’s a great at-your-fingertips guide, especially when you are on the road or visiting a new city.
Requires iOS 7.0 and Android 4.0.3 and up
2. Grocery shopping: Gluten-Free Allergy-Free Marketplace
Grocery shopping with dietary intolerances or allergies can be overwhelming. Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been navigating life with a food intolerance or allergy for a while, the Gluten-Free Allergy-Free Marketplace at celiac.org aims to make the experience easier. Now you can access it in app form.
Celiac Disease Foundation’s Gluten-Free Allergy-Free Marketplace app helps consumers find gluten-free and allergy-free products, services and companies wherever they and their smartphones may go. You can search and filter products, view photos and nutritional information, add items to your Amazon shopping cart, get coupons and recipes, and more. The app also allows users to access the CDF’s online tools such as its Healthcare Practitioner Directory and Symptoms checklist.
App Store: Free
Google Play: Free
Requires iOS 6.0 or later and Android 2.3.3 and up
3. Tracking symptoms: Allergy Journal
Trying to pinpoint a food allergy or intolerance can be a prolonged and frustrating period of trial and error. Allergy Journal by Big Bang Partners LLC adds ease and efficiency to the process. In addition to recording your symptoms and the foods you eat, you can also rate the level of symptoms you experience, search your entries, and run reports to help you analyze the data. Then, you can share your reports with your health care provider or others. It’s a whole lot better than a file on your smartphone or a notebook. Plus, you can password protect the app for privacy.
App Store: $0.99
Google Play: $0.99
Requires iOS 6.0 or later and Android 4.0 and up
4. Working with a diagnosis: Food Intolerances
Once you’ve been diagnosed with a food intolerance, you have a lot of learning ahead of you when it comes to what you can and cannot eat. The foods we consume sometimes contain ingredients we don’t even know about—and sometimes there are multiple names for certain ingredients.
The Food Intolerances app from Baliza GmbH provides an extensive database with details for about 700 foods, food additives and drugs—references included. It covers histamine intolerance, fructose malabsorption, sorbitol intolerance, lactose intolerance, salicylate or aspirin intolerance and gluten intolerance. Select your intolerance or intolerances. Search the database. Filter and sort. Read and learn. Create a shopping list. Eat!
App Store: $5.99
Google Play: $4.99
Requires iOS 5.0 or later and Android 4.1 and up
5. Communicating with caregivers: Allergy Ally
Allergy Ally by Tikkun Olam helps parents and caregivers of children with food allergies to work together. It’s a simple interface that can play a significant role in keeping kids safe. Parents can create an individual allergy profile for their kids and provide their caregivers with this important information by text or email.
The app also teaches users how to prevent, spot and treat food allergy reaction using a Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan. Seventy-five percent of the profit from app sales goes toward food allergy research. Based on the reviews, it’s made many parents and caretakers very happy.
Google Play:Not available at this time
Requires iOS 7.0 or later
1Availability and cost are subject to change.