Allergies to nuts
Nuts are healthy, but they can also cause allergy reactions.
Does your mouth and throat tickle when you eat nuts?
Do you experience hay fever symptoms or hives of eating the smallest piece of almond?
If so it may be signs of allergies to nuts or an allergic cross-reaction to birch pollen.
Both children and adults can react allergic to nuts. We have no accurate records of how many that suffers from tree nut allergy. Most will be young people and adults with birch pollen allergy, experiencing a so-called “cross-reaction”, because their bodies can not distinguish between the allergenic substances in pollen and nuts.
Allergy-reactions to nuts occurs in the majority, just after they have eaten nuts – some will first experience symptoms after a few hours or longer. It is especially hazelnuts, which may give allergic, but also almonds, Brazil nuts and walnuts.
– If you experience symptoms of allergy to nuts – whether it is a cross-reaction or a nut allergy – you must immediately stop eating the nuts, rinse the mouth and possibly take antihistamines if symptoms are mild. If you experience violent reactions, a should doctor assess the situation, but it should be stressed that the vast majority are experiencing mild symptoms.
Yet the advice is that if you already once have responded towards nuts, you should avoid precisely that kind of nuts entirely.
If you experience allergic reactions to nuts – and you do not know whether you already have pollen allergy – it’s a good idea to have see your doctor for an allergy test for pollen allergy. This is done through a skin prick test or a blood test.
If the test is positive, further studies are rarely necessary. In that case you are allergic to pollen, and it is quite normal that you also react to nuts.
Is the test is negative, a skin test or blood test specifically for nuts reveals exactly which nuts, you can not tolerate.
– If you respond to one kind of nuts is does not necessarily mean that you also respond to other nuts. When allergic to hazel nuts, however, it is quite common also to respond to other tree nuts – such as walnut.
Raw vs. treated nuts
In everyday life, it may seem like a be an obstacle run to avoid nuts all together, because they can be found in many products – such as breakfast cereals, bread, cakes, confectionery and sweets.
– Some foods may contain very small amounts of nuts, without any information about it on the label. For example the product may have been in contact with nuts during production. Here, the producer may choose to write ‘May contain traces of …’ on the product, but it may still be enough for people with allergies to birch pollen and nuts to experience symptoms.
Nut lovers, that reacts allergic to nuts, do however not have to quit eating nuts all together.
– A lot of people who have allergy symptoms to nuts, reacts only on the raw and unprocessed nuts, but can withstand the nuts, as long as they are baked, fried or boiled.
Nuts, that often gives allergic reactions:
- Cashew nut
- Brazil nut
Nuts, seeds and grains, which rarely gives allergic reactions:
- Poppy seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Pecan nuts
- Pine nuts
- Pistachio nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Sun flower seeds
- Breakfast cereals – especially muesli often contain nuts.
- Bread – the nuts may be added (such as walnuts).
- Cold cuts – for example contains the Italian sausage Mortadella pistachios.
- Dinner meals – particularly African, Chinese, Indonesian, Mexican, Thai and Vietnamese dishes often contain nuts.
- Cookies, sweets, ice, etc. – Remember: Marzipan is made of almonds, nougat is made of hazelnuts, macaroons may contain marzipan / almonds. Many salads are sprinkled with nuts, cheese and ice are often decorated with nuts.
Peanuts – not a nut!
Despite the name, peanuts are not a nut but a legume. Peanuts has actually no allergens in common with nuts.
If you are allergic to peanuts, you do not necessarily have to avoid other nuts, unless you have a clean nut allergy together with your peanut allergy.
If you do have a clean peanut allergy, you may also react to other legumes – such as green peas, soy, beans and lentils.
Peanuts appear in breakfast cereals, peanut butter, some exotic dinners, sauces, dressings and cakes, desserts, sweets, snacks and ice. In the declaration on the food, the peanuts typically hides under names such as groundnut oil, peanut butter and peanut oil.
Symptoms of peanut allergy are – like nut allergy – itching in the mouth and throat, hay fever symptoms and hives. In addition, peanut allergy more often gives violent symptoms such as severe asthma attacks and allergic shock.
– With peanut allergy, often only very small quantities are needed to trigger symptoms. That is why it is important to talk with their doctor about what to do if you by a mistake eat peanuts. You might for instance need to always have fast working medicine with you – such as an EpiPen.
Nuts are also healthy
With a small handful (3/4 – 1 oz) of nuts daily, you can prevent heart disease. In fact you reduce your risk of 20-40 per cent compared to those who do not eat nuts.
Although nuts contain lots of ‘healthy fat’, it is still fat. Therefore you should not just add 1 oz. of nuts on top of you daily diet – unless you want to gain weight. Instead you could replace other forms of fat – such as the saturated and hard fat from the butter or margarine – with peanut butter. As a snack, nuts are also good, but choose those without salt or sugar.
If you are allergic to nuts, you do not have to do without the nuts healthy benefits.
Mainly because you probably do not respond to all nuts. Secondary because many only react to raw nuts – not nuts, which are baked, fried or boiled.