Foods That Cause Oral Allergy Syndrome

Foods That Cause Oral Allergy Syndrome
Beware of fruits and veggies you may have to avoid.

Pollen allergies are commonplace. When a hypersensitive immune system mistakes harmless pollen for a pathogen, the body overreacts, causing inflammation, itchy and watery eyes, and sneezing. In some cases, the body goes even further, mistaking the proteins present in some of our favorite foods for the pollen it’s so hyper attuned to. When this occurs, foods trigger the same allergic rhinitis that pollen would, and can even progress to a swollen throat or anaphylactic shock. We know this condition as oral allergy syndrome. Here are some of the foods that cause oral allergy syndrome—though in some cases, it could be more OAS’s case of mistaken identity and a sign of something more serious.

Birch Pollen Allergies

Birch pollen is most prevalent in the spring and is a prime contributor to what we know as “allergy season.” A whole produce stand worth of popular fruits and vegetables bears the protein that resembles the one found in birch pollen. The list is centered upon the pitted fruits—apples, apricots, peaches, plums, pears, and cherries. Kiwi fruit, though dissimilar to these, can also trigger allergic reactions. Carrots and celery share this protein, which sounds disastrous for lovers of soups. Not to worry, however—cooking denatures the protein in question enough that the immune system will not pounce on it, meaning you can make stock with safety. Nuts and legumes can trigger oral allergy syndrome, but a reaction could also be indicative of a separate adult-onset food allergy.

Orchard Grass Allergies

In the summertime, orchard grass and Timothy grass cause their share of seasonal allergies. During this time, the immune system can mistake oranges, tomatoes, and watermelons—all great summer foods—for the protein that makes orchard grass troublesome. White potatoes can trigger allergic reactions, while yams or sweet potatoes will not.

Ragweed Allergies

In the fall, ragweed pollen’s case of mistaken identity involves the muskmelons: cantaloupe and honeydew, those standbys of fruit salad. Watermelon, as it does with birch pollen, shares a similar protein with ragweed pollen, making it a bi-seasonal trigger of oral allergy syndrome. Cucumber and zucchini, two vegetables with thick, dark green skin, should be avoided during the ragweed season of early autumn.

Mugwort Allergies

The late-autumn allergy season centered around mugwort, a flowering plant, brings a long list of foods that cause oral allergy syndrome in people with mugwort pollen allergies. Fresh broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, garlic, and onion can all trigger oral allergy syndrome, along with bell peppers, parsley, and chard. Even a variety of aromatic spices, like anise, fennel, caraway, coriander, and black pepper, can dupe your immune system into fighting an imaginary adversary. Remember, however, that thorough cooking breaks down the protein, and that if symptoms get serious, consult your doctor.

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