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Unappetizing Effects of Seasonal Allergies
During the spring and summer, some of the fruits and vegetables, that
you’ve been missing all winter long, appear in carefully stacked
mountains at the local grocer. Those sweet, soft peaches that you
smothered in vanilla ice cream may surprise you with the effects they
have on your allergies if you have hayfever. After eating certain
fruits, vegetables, nuts or spices, you may have noticed:
What does hay fever have in common with your favorite produce?
Apparently much more than was previously thought. Proteins in
certain fruits and veggies might mimic the protein in pollens that
cause allergic reactions.
- A tingling sensation in the lips or tongue
- Itching in the tongue, mouth and throat
- Burning sensation in the lips, tongue mouth and throat
- Watery, itchy eyes
- Sneezing and runny nose
- Swelling or rash on lips, tongue and mouth
sudden onset of these symptoms can be a little alarming and leads many
to believe that they have seemingly developed a food
allergy overnight. The cause of these symptoms may have
nothing to do with food allergies, but could actually be caused by your
hay fever or pollen sensitivity. This condition is known as Oral
Allergy Syndrome and is not as unusual you might think. Before
you start cutting these foods out of your diet forever, try to pin-point when
the reaction occurs—does it typically flare up in early spring
and late summer? If so, this is a typical sign that you have
developed Oral Allergy Syndrome.
Believe it or not, your body is not responding with these symptoms to
any sort of pesticide, chemical or wax on the fruit or vegetable, but
is reacting to the fruit itself. Oral Allergy Syndrome is more or
less about mistaken identity—proteins found in certain foods
mimic the allergen proteins present in pollen grains. Because
your body has already developed a defense mechanism for pollen, when
your mouth and throat are exposed to a similar protein, your body
launches an assault. This causes an allergic reaction.
Who is affected?
Individuals who suffer with allergies to certain plants and trees,
including: alder trees, birch trees, grass, mugwort weeds and ragweed.
Foods that commonly cause cross-allergic reactions:
The same intolerance that your body has for inhaled pollens, may also be applied to these lists of foods.
- If you have a sensitivity to alder pollen: almonds, apples, celery, cherries, hazel nuts, peaches, pears, parsley
- If you have a sensitivity to birch pollen: almonds, apples,
apricots, carrots, celery, cherries, coriander, fennel, kiwi, nectarines,
parsley, parsnips, peaches, pears, peppers, plums, potatoes, prunes. Potential:
hazel nuts, and walnuts
- If youhave a sensitivity to mugwort pollen: carrots, celery, coriander, fennel, parsley, peppers, sunflower
- If you have a sensitivity to ragweed pollen: banana, cantaloupe,
cucumber, honey dew, watermelon, zucchini. Potential: Dandelions, or
Is there a way to treat Oral Allergy Syndrome?
Don’t be distressed about giving up certain fruit or veggies—check out wikipedia’s entry on Oral Allergy
Syndrome for a list of alternative food choices. Oral Allergy Syndriome
- Peeling fruits and vegetables often eliminates the allergic reaction
- Canned, cooked or processed foods usually do not cause reactions—only fresh foods trigger allergies
- Fruit that is freshly picked or still partially unripe is less likely to cause reactions
- Stop eating food if you notice a tingling sensation around or in your mouth
- Be aware that you may develop allergic tendencies towards other items on the lists over time—always be on the alert when eating foods on these lists
- Microwaving food briefly to a temperature of 176-194 F degrees may allow you to eat it
- Nuts on the lists should be completely avoided—no matter whether they are cooked or not
- Immunotherapy (i.e. allergy shots) usually will greatly improve or even eliminate Oral Allergy Syndrome