Plums are hands-down one of my favorite Summer fruits. Not only do they look beautiful and taste delicious, they've also been found to increase iron absorption thanks to their high vitamin C content. Unfortunately, each time I choose to indulge in a ripe plum, I face a trade-off; delicious Summer fruit taste, itchy, uncomfortable mouth.
Twenty-five percent of seasonal allergy sufferers also fall victim to Oral Allergy Syndrome, or OAS, an allergy to proteins in certain types of pollen found in fruits and vegetables. The symptoms, which are different than those of a typical food allergy, include an uncomfortable itchy, tingling sensation or even swelling in your mouth upon eating the offending fresh fruit, vegetable, or nut.
For more on the difference between OAS and food allergy symptoms, keep reading.
The symptoms often aren't severe enough to prevent sufferers from enjoying the food, which is good news for me and my fridge full of plums. The uncomfortable feeling generally lasts for about 10 minutes to a half-hour.
True food allergies, on the other hand, carry symptoms that are far more severe. A food allergy causes reactions like hives, nausea, and facial swelling, and in severe cases can cause difficulty breathing or swelling in your throat.
Oral allergy syndrome can only be triggered by fresh fruits and vegetables, so cooking them or eating their dried versions won't cause a reaction. And as long as you can deal with 15 minutes or so of itchy discomfort, you don't have to avoid fresh versions of OAS-triggering foods.