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Got Allergies? These Foods Might Set You Off

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.


Join The Conversation
doodlegirl doodlegirl 9 years
i went to an allergist last year and discovered i had OAS. i'm allergic to birch tree and grass pollen, now i can't eat apples, kiwis and a bunch of other fruit without getting an itchy mouth! =( i keep trying to eat different varieties of apples to see if there's one that doesn't bother me, but so far no luck. guess i'll just have to get my apples in juice and pie form! i'm also allergic to celery and soy, and i have an epi-pen because of the celery allergy. yes i know celery is mostly water, but i'm still allergic to it! =P
emsilees09 emsilees09 9 years
It's so nice to hear how other people can't eat avocados! My friends are always shocked when I can't eat guacamole and can't believe people are allergic to them. I fall under the Birch tree pollen category, and a little of the ragweed.
julibul julibul 9 years
I have OAS with all of those and more. I LOVE apples but I have to always keep an inhaler and an epi-pen around while I'm eating them. You never know. My allergist tells me that you can react differently every time you eat something. For example, one time I ate an apple and it triggered bad asthma and an insanely itchy mouth. One time I ate a plum and I went into anaphylactic shock. I seem to be most reactive to birch tree pollen I guess.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I have allergies to some trees and can't eat Kiwi (my tongue starts to tingle.) However I can eat the other items on the list. :ponder:
Spectra Spectra 9 years
Lucky for me, I'm not allergic to any grass/pollens. The only thing that even causes me to get a slight reaction is mold in the air.
EML13 EML13 9 years
I'm allergic to apples, pears, plums, peaches, nectarines, and grapes, and I'm allergic to almost all of the pollens listed ... lucky me!
Tutta Tutta 9 years
I can't eat watermelon because of this. My throat will completely close up on me! I'm with ErieIndiana, I can only eat so much avacado before I get the tingling feeling in the back of my throat.
jconcep jconcep 9 years
this is really interesting information. i used to be able to eat some of these fruits and nuts, but now i can't. what sucks is that i loved cherries and now i can't have them! or kiwis... or fresh peaches. i did discover, if the fruit was processed or cooked, i am able to eat them... except when they are freeze dried.
BloodyFuFu BloodyFuFu 9 years
LOL! That's it, I need to just be a carnivore. I'm allergic to all those pollens.
ErieIndiana ErieIndiana 9 years
Crazy! I'm totally allergic to bananas and ragweed. Any news on Avacados though?
kia kia 9 years
I'm allergic to some grasses, but luckily don't seem to have OAS to the foods listed.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Oh wow, good to know.
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