If you suffer from seasonal allergies to pollen, you may be part of the one-third who also suffers from oral allergy syndrome (OAS). Symptoms include uncomfortable itchiness, tingling, or swelling in the mouth, lips, or throat when consuming certain fruits, vegetables, or nuts. The reaction occurs because the proteins in pollens are so similar to the proteins in certain types of foods. OAS causes the body to see those food proteins as an allergen, and as soon as the person eats the offending food, it triggers the sensitive immune system to release chemicals that cause cells in the mouth and throat to swell. These types of reactions are called cross reactions, and are usually mild and only last for a few minutes. Only fresh fruits, veggies, and nuts can cause OAS reactions. Eating canned, cooked, dried, or frozen versions of those same foods may be less likely to cause a reaction. Also, just so you know, OAS is different than a nut allergy. In order for a person to have OAS, they must have an allergy to pollen.
Are you curious to know which foods are connected to which allergens? Then
Note: Cross reactions may occur with some or all of the foods listed in the right-hand column.
|Type of Allergy||Foods That May Cause Cross Reactions|
|Birch Tree pollen||Almonds, apples, apricots, carrots, celery, cherries, coriander, fennel, hazelnuts, kiwi, lychee fruit, nectarines, parsley, parsnips, peaches, pears, peppers, persimmon, plums, potatoes, prunes, soy, wheat, zucchini, walnuts|
|Grass pollen||Celery, watermelon, oranges, peaches, tomatoes|
|Ragweed pollen||Bananas, melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew), gourd family (cucumber, zucchini and squash), chamomile, echinacea, sunflower seeds|
|Alder pollen||Celery, pears, apples, almonds, cherries, hazelnuts, peaches, parsley|
|Mugwort pollen||Celery, fennel, carrots, parsley, coriander, sunflower, peppers|
Fit's Tips: Just because you have an allergy to one of the pollens listed above, does not mean you automatically have OAS. If you've been noticing swelling, itching or tingling in your mouth or throat, it's best to get tested by an allergist.