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nut allergy

All you need to know about nut allergy

Published on May 19, 2020

Nuts are among the most powerful and healthiest snacks you can add to your diet. However, these tasty, power-boosting and healthy edibles have one downside, some people might be allergic to nuts.

Although people might not be allergic to all the nuts, the nut allergy is so severe that if you have it you should avoid eating nuts. You should also be aware of the symptoms of nut allergy and what to do if you unintentionally eat nuts.

Peanut Allergies
The skin might start itching if you touch a nut that you are allergic to.

Why do people have nut allergy?

Generally, there is a specific molecule in food that triggers the immune system, which is called allergens. The immune system produces antibodies to detect the allergen and remove it.

Antibodies help the immune system recognize foreign substances that do not belong to the body. During this process, they initiate an inflammatory response and clear the body of the invader. That’s when the body starts to react to these functions.

Most of the time, people are allergic to the protein in the nuts. It’s the body’s immune system that overreacts to these proteins and considers them harmful and dangerous.

The allergic reaction a person has is because of this fight between the body’s immune system and the nut proteins, which are considered to be the invaders. People with nut allergy might react to them even if they come close to the allergic nuts or touch them.

Facts on Tree Nut Allergies
Although it’s more common to face with any allergy in the childhood, nut allergy can sometimes occurs for the first time in an adulthood.

Which nuts are more allergic?

Tree nuts allergy is one of the most common food allergies people may have. However, most people are allergic to peanuts, which is a legume, not a nut. But most of the people with peanut allergy are prone to be allergic to at least one tree nut.

Since the nut allergy is mostly because of the high amount of protein in nuts, people might be more allergic to the nuts with higher proteins. The most allergic nuts are as follow:

  • Almonds
  • walnuts
  • brazil nuts
  • cashews
  • hazelnuts
  • hickory nuts
  • macadamia nuts
  • pecan nuts
  • pine nuts
  • pistachios

Although these are considered to be the most allergic nuts, people also might be allergic to the nuts which are not on the list. That all depends on the person’s immune system.

Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
Because of the high amount of protein in peanuts, most people might show the symptoms of being allergic to peanuts much more than any other nuts.

What are the symptoms of nut allergy?

People have different reactions to nut allergy. The symptoms might be mild, which are the feelings that may go away after a while or the person can treat by consuming anti-allergic drugs, or very severe, which might need emergency medical attention.

The symptoms of mild reactions to nut allergy are as follow:

  • hives
  • swelling around the mouth
  • vomiting
  • stomach pains
  • diarrhea
  • skin rash

However, if you have a mild reaction, it doesn’t mean you should not care about what you consume. It’s important to avoid triggering the body to show these reactions.

The most dangerous reaction to nut allergy is anaphylaxis. People who are very sensitive to nuts might face with this reaction, the basic symptoms of having anaphylaxis are as follow:

  • breathing problems
  • swollen tongue
  • swollen throat
  • difficulty talking
  • wheezing or coughing
  • dizziness
  • collapse
  • becoming pale and floppy

Even if you encountered with one of the symptoms of anaphylaxis, seek for medical treatment as soon as you can. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and needs to be treated very soon.

How long does a nut allergy last?

Symptoms of any allergies start from the moment you eat the food and might last as long as 2 hours. However, even if the symptoms are mild, it’s better not to wait until it goes away.

Because sometimes, if you don’t treat it with drugs, the symptoms might come back after a few hours.

In some cases, people might find out they are no longer allergic to nuts, they should still be careful about consuming adequate numbers of nuts to avoid any possible allergic reactions.

In such cases, it’s better to visit an allergist to make sure if you should still avoid nuts or you can start consuming them without any problem.

Treatments of nut allergy

Allergies don’t have any cure. But in case you don’t have severe reaction to nut allergy, you can treat the mild reactions by taking some anti-allergic drugs. But never use a drug without a doctor’s prescription.

Therefore, if you know you are allergic, see a doctor to make sure which drug is good for you and won’t put your life in danger. If you see a person is reacting to nuts and has any of the mentioned symptoms of anaphylaxis, call an ambulance and seek for medical help.

Why is peanut butter "healthy
If you are allergic to any nuts, you should avoid eating other related products such as their butter, powder, or oil.

How to avoid nut allergy?

If you are allergic to nuts, the only thing you can do is to avoid any exposure to them. Therefore, you should always be aware of the ingredients of every food you eat or let everyone knows you are allergic and can’t tolerate nuts in your food. Here are some tips to help you avoid nuts:

  • Avoid direct and indirect contact with nuts which you are allergic to
  • Read the label of the food and the ingredients in restaurants’ menus to make sure you are not allergic to them
  • Let the waiters know you are allergic to nuts, especially in Asian restaurants. Because nuts are one of the main ingredients of many Asian dishes.
  • Let your friends know what to do in case you reacted to any food.
  • Always carry your prescribed anti-allergic drug.

Bottom Line

Nut allergy is so common in the world. In Australia, at least 1 in 5 people are allergic to some nuts, especially peanuts, which is high in protein. Nut allergy can become dangerous if you don’t care and seek for medical help.

To make sure to which nuts you are allergic to, see a doctor to take some tests. The result of the tests can ensure you if you are allergic to all the nuts or you should just avoid some of them.

Nuts are loaded with many great nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. There are some alternatives that you can consider if you have allergy to nuts, such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, they are as good as nuts and being allergic to these seeds are extremely rare.

PS. This article is written based on the research that Natural Moreish content team has done on different blogs, websites and articles. Natural Moreish doesn’t suggest acknowledge or claim the information on this post.

About the author Joshua is a recipe developer, cook, photographer, and author. Ever since he was young, he’s enjoyed food. He is looking at food, learning and researching about food and happily devouring food. Because of his food philosophy of sharing, you’ll find him regularly adding delicious tapas style dishes, appetizers and finger food.

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