Allergies And The Immune System
When someone is allergic to nuts, their immune system mistakenly identifies nuts as a harmful substance. The immune system reacts to these substances, or allergens. The first time someone is exposed to a nut allergen, they usually dont have any symptoms. Their immune system, however, has recognized the allergen as a threat and gets ready to fight the allergen the next time it enters the body.
When the allergen enters the body again, the immune system launches an attack by releasing chemicals such as histamine. The release of histamine is what causes allergy symptoms. Get a more detailed look at allergies.
Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 , all prepackaged food in the United States that use nuts as an ingredient must list the type of nut on the label.
For now, there are no rules requiring food manufacturers to list if their food has been contaminated with, or processed on, the same equipment as other foods containing nuts.
Food Proteins Trigger Food Allergy
Proteins in food can trigger allergic reactions in some people. If a person is allergic to one protein present in one food only then an allergic reaction can only occur if they eat that food. Some people may be allergic to more than one protein in more than one food, so they may be allergic to several foods.
Can Nut Allergy Be Prevented
In the past, the Department of Health advised that atopic pregnant and breast-feeding mothers and their infants should avoid peanuts. However, in 2009, the Department of Health changed their advice. They found there was no evidence that eating or not eating nuts when pregnant made any difference to the chances of a child developing allergy. Since that time they have advised there is no need for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers to avoid nuts.
There is some evidence that introducing peanuts to the diet early on in the weaning process may make a child less likely to develop an allergy to them. Obviously whole peanuts are a choking hazard, so they need to be in a form which is safe for the baby .
Natural History And Prevention
Most children lose their sensitivity to most allergenic foods within the first 35 years of life.24 In contrast, adults with food allergy may have long-lived sensitivity. Sensitivity to peanut, tree nuts, and seafood is rarely lost. The notion that peanut and tree nut allergy is permanent derives partly from the observation that it is an allergy that affects adults; however, it has become apparent that about 20% of peanut-allergic children under age 2 years, and about 9% of those with tree nut allergy, may achieve tolerance by school age.
Evidence-based approaches to delay or prevent allergy through dietary manipulation of infants and mothers have been hampered by
Preventing A Nut Allergy Reaction
- Ask your server. Foods that don’t have peanuts or tree nuts in them can still get contaminated if theyâre made in the same place or with the same equipment as food that has the nuts. It can also happen in restaurants that use lots of ingredients, and even in ice cream parlors if equipment, like scoops, are shared.
- Check the label each time you buy a product. Food makers sometimes change the recipe.
- Look outside the kitchen. Nuts can also be in lotions, shampoos, and pet food. Check labels before you buy or use them.
Highly Purified Peanut Oil Contains Little Allergen
Refined peanut oils , have been shown to be safe in small studies. It is difficult to guarantee that an oil is sufficiently refined to remove all traces of peanut protein, which is the trigger for allergic reactions. Some restaurants use peanut oil for cooking, and peanut proteins may leach into the oil. Therefore, avoidance of peanut oil is advised. Little research has been done to prove safety of other nut oils, so avoidance is advised.
What Is Nut Allergy
An allergy occurs when your body’s immune system, which normally fights infection, overreacts to a substance called an allergen. Most allergens are not obviously harmful and they have no effect on people who are not allergic to them. Allergic reactions to allergens can vary from mild to life-threatening.
Both peanuts and tree nuts can act as allergens, and can cause an allergic reaction in some people. When you come into contact with something that you are allergic to , a group of cells in your body, called mast cells, release a substance called histamine. Histamine causes the tiny blood vessels in the tissues of your body to leak fluid which causes the tissues to swell. This results in a number of different symptoms.
Strictly speaking, peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes, in the same family as peas and beans. Peanuts grow underground whereas other nuts grow on trees. The word nut in this leaflet can mean either tree nuts or peanuts.
See also the separate leaflets called and Food Allergy and Intolerance for more information about allergy in general.
Living With A Peanut Allergy
As there is currently no cure for peanut allergy, the complete avoidance of peanuts and foods which contain peanuts is important. Peanuts are widely used in a variety of foods and are a common ingredient in different types of cooking like Asian and Indian cuisine. They can also be found in foods like muesli and cereals and cereal bars. It is important to carefully check the ingredients list on food items . Avoid foods which contain peanut and could be listed under any of the following names:
- Arachis hypogaea
What Can I Do
Consult your allergist or physician in order to obtain the advice and support needed to help manage your condition. Contact your allergy association for further information.
If you or anyone you know has food allergies and would like to receive information about food being recalled due to improper allergen labelling, sign up for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s e-mail Food Recalls and Allergy Alerts notification service available. When you sign up you will automatically receive timely food recall notifications.
Allergists recommend that if you do not have your auto-injector device with you that you do not eat. If an ingredient list says a product contains or may contain tree nuts, do not eat it. If you do not recognize an ingredient, if there is no ingredient list available or if you don’t understand the language written on the packaging, avoid the product.
Watch out for allergen cross-contamination!
Cross-contamination is the accidental transfer of an ingredient to a product that does not normally have that ingredient in it. Through cross-contamination, a food that should not contain the allergen could become dangerous to eat for those who are allergic.
Cross-contamination can happen:
Of The Most Common Food Allergies
- March 29, 2021
A food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs after eating a specific food. Even trace amounts of the food can cause symptoms, such as hives, nausea, and swelling of the lips, face, tongue or throat. Food allergy affects roughly 32 million Americans, including 5.6 million children under the age of 18.
Any food can cause an allergic reaction, but there are four that make up for 90% of food allergens in both children and adults, including:
Cross Reactivity Is Difficult To Understand And Harder To Predict
Cross reactivity means that a similar protein is present in a range of different foods. If the same protein is present in several foods, then that person may have allergic reactions to any food containing that protein. Examples of cross reactivity include people allergic to similar proteins present in hen and duck eggs; cow’s and goat’s milk; or cashew and pistachio nuts.
It may be difficult to predict whether a person will be allergic to one unique protein allergen present in one food only, or several similar cross reactive proteins present in multiple foods. Therefore, it is not possible to reliably predict the likelihood of allergy to seed or nut like foods without allergy testing to that particular food.
Im A Vegetarian For Ethical Reasons Is It Possible To Go Primal And Not Eat Meat
Yes, though it wouldnt be ideal.
As long as youre avoiding grains, refined sugar, and processed seed oilsand liberally eating the high-quality animal products you do feel comfortable consumingit can be done. Hopefully you really like eggs and dairy. Make sure the dairy and eggs you eat are of the utmost quality. Get eggs with dark orange yolks from pastured hens who ate grass, weeds, and bugs. Get dairy from cows, goats, or sheep who ate grass. Include some fermented dairy in there as well. A quality whey protein may also help with protein needs.
If youre the kind of vegetarian that eats fish, this wont be nearly as difficult. Even if you are not, I urge you to at least consider eating bivalves like oysters, mussels, and clams. They dont seem to have a central nervous system or experience pain as we understand it, plus bivalve farming is neutral-to-beneficial for the local ecosystem.
I would also look into eating insects. Research shows that they experience pain differently than most other animals, and theyre a good source of protein, fat, and multiple micronutrients. Theyre also extremely eco-friendly, sporting the largest biomass of all terrestrial animals. Most hunter-gatherer societies with steady access to bugs utilize them as a useful source of calories. Why not us?
Other Information About Tree Nuts
Artificial nuts are peanuts that have been deflavored. They are then reflavored with a nut such as pecan or walnut.
Filberts are hazelnuts.
Some natural extracts can contain tree nuts. These include pure almond extract and natural wintergreen extract. A child who is allergic to filberts or hazelnuts should not eat foods with these in them.
Imitation or artificially flavored extracts are safe to use.
Ethnic foods, commercially prepared baked goods, and candy can be cross-contaminated with nuts. This is because nuts are often used in these types of foods.
Tree nuts are being added to a growing variety of foods. These include barbecue sauces, cereals, crackers, and ice creams.
Eating Out With Tree Nut Allergies
Tree nuts aren’t as common in restaurant cuisines as other allergens. However, the risk of a dangerous reaction makes eating out tricky.
Cuisines that may use nuts include:
In addition, high-end restaurants may use tree nut oils to make marinades and salad dressings. Japanese and Latin American cuisines are among the safer choices, but you should always err on the side of caution.
Allergic Reactions To Peanut Tree Nuts Or Seeds Can Sometimes Be Severe
Symptoms of food allergy typically include hives , swelling around the mouth, and vomiting, usually within 30 minutes of eating a food. Other symptoms include stomach pains, or diarrhoea.
Symptoms of severe allergic reactions , include any of the following; difficult/noisy breathing, swelling of the tongue, swelling/tightness in the throat, difficulty talking/hoarse voice, wheeze or persistent cough, persistent dizziness and/or collapse. Young children may become pale and floppy.
Deaths from food allergy are rare in Australia, but mild, moderate and severe allergic reactions are common. Peanuts and tree nuts are amongst the most common foods causing life threatening anaphylaxis.
Allergies To More Than One Nut
People can be allergic to one type of tree nut, to some tree nuts, or to many tree nuts but not to other types of tree nuts. That’s because some tree nuts contain similar proteinsfor example, almonds and hazelnuts contain similar proteins, as do walnuts and pecans, and pistachios and cashews. Because of these protein similarities, it is common for an individual to have an allergy to both nuts. For instance, if you are allergic to cashew, you have a greater risk of being allergic to pistachios, as well.
However, most people with tree nut allergy are not allergic to all tree nuts. The decision to avoid all tree nuts when there is an allergy to one or more tree nuts is a personal one and one you should discuss with your doctor. In food production, the risk of cross-contact with multiple tree nuts is higher, which has led many health professionals to recommend avoidance of all tree nuts.
How to Avoid Cross-Contact with Tree Nut and Other Food Allergies
Emergency Treatment For Severe Allergic Reactions
If you are at risk of a severe allergic reaction , carry an adrenaline autoinjector such as EpiPen® and a means of calling for medical assistance such as a mobile telephone. Emergency responses for a severe allergic reaction are:
- lay the person flat do not allow them to stand or walk
- administer adrenaline with an autoinjector
- always dial triple zero to call an ambulance in a medical emergency.
If you are at risk of a severe allergic reaction, make sure you:
- have a severe allergic reaction action plan
- carry an adrenaline autoinjector to treat a severe allergic reaction
- wear medical identification jewellery this increases the likelihood that adrenaline will be administered in an emergency
- avoid medication that may increase the severity of allergic reaction or complicate its treatment such as beta blockers
- seek medical advice.
How Are Severe Allergic Reactions Treated
Currently there is no cure for food allergies. The only option for managing the risk is to completely avoid the specific allergen. Appropriate emergency treatment for anaphylaxis includes an injection of epinephrine, which is available in an auto-injector device. Epinephrine is the only medication that can stop an allergic reaction from progressing and must be administered as soon as symptoms of a severe allergic reaction appear. Antihistamines, if used, should be given AFTER epinephrine has been administered. The injection must be followed by further treatment and observation in a hospital emergency room. If your allergist has diagnosed you with a food allergy and prescribed epinephrine, carry it with you all the time and know how to use it. Follow the advice of your allergist on how to use an auto-injector device.
What Happens With A Tree Nut Or Peanut Allergy
When someone has a nut allergy, the body’s immune system, which normally fights infections, overreacts to proteins in the nut. If the person eats something that contains the nut, the body thinks these proteins are harmful invaders and responds by working very hard to fight off the invader. This causes an allergic reaction.
Even a small amount of peanut or tree nut protein can set off a reaction. But allergic reactions from breathing in small particles of nuts or peanuts are rare. That’s because the food usually needs to be eaten to cause a reaction. Most foods with peanuts in them don’t allow enough of the protein to escape into the air to cause a reaction. And just the smell of foods containing peanuts won’t cause one because the scent doesn’t contain the protein.
Is Coconut A Tree Nut
Many people consider coconut a fruit. When the FDA mandated that coconut be considered a tree nut for labeling purposes, it caused some confusion.
In fact, coconut allergy is uncommon, and studies have shown that people with tree nut allergy are at no greater risk of being allergic to coconuts. Many tree nut allergic individuals can tolerate coconut in milk and yogurt form. Talk to your allergist about including coconut if it is not currently part of your diet.
Signs & Symptoms Of A Nut Allergy What To Look For
Signs and symptoms of peanut and tree nut allergy vary; some appearing in a matter of minutes after contact with nuts and others up to an hour or two later. Symptoms can be mild, moderate, and sometimes can be severe and even life-threatening.
The most common mild to moderate symptoms include:
- Blotchy raised or itchy nettle rash
- Itchy mouth, tongue or throat
- Swelling of lips, eyes or face
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Vomiting, tummy ache and diarrhoea
Severe symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing, wheezing or a persistent cough
- Swelling of tongue or throat
- Throat tightness
Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction and can be life-threatening.
What Is The Most Common Tree Nut Allergy
Tree nut are some of the most common food allergies, affecting nearly 0.5%-1% of people in the U.S. Examples of tree nuts include:
- Pine nuts
- Lychee nuts
The most common nut are cashew, walnut, hazelnut and pistachio. In the U.S. the most common nut is cashew, followed by walnut. In the U.K. the most common nut is hazelnut. Even in smaller quantities, cashew and pistachio can cause severe reactions as compared to other tree nuts.
Surprised that peanuts arent mentioned in the list? True, peanut allergy is more common. But peanuts are legumes, not tree nuts. If you have a peanut allergy, however, its likely that you may have a tree nut as well, since peanuts and tree nuts share some structural proteins. In fact, 25%-40% of people with peanut allergies are to one or more tree nuts.
How Common Is Nut Allergy And Who Gets It
In the UK about 2 in 100 children and about 1 in 200 adults have an allergy to nuts. The number of people with peanut allergy is growing.
Nut allergy is the most common type of severe food allergy. It often starts when children are very young. Most first allergic reactions take place when a child is between 14 months and two years old. Unlike other food allergies such as milk allergy, nut allergy is something that you are unlikely to grow out of. Only about 1 in 5 people with a nut allergy will grow out of it, and these tend to be the people who have mild reactions.
Management Of Peanut Allergy: Medications And Allergy Action Plans
In the case of a severe allergic reaction adrenaline is the medication needed to treat allergic symptoms and should be given as soon as possible after symptoms of anaphylaxis are recognised.
Adrenaline autoinjectors, also known as adrenaline pens, are devices that contain the emergency medicine adrenaline that can be given in the case of a severe reaction to peanut. If you or your child are prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector it is important that you are shown how to use it by the doctor, nurse or pharmacist. These devices are available as trainer pens for the type of adrenaline pen that has been prescribed and are useful for practicing or showing others how to use them .
Expiry dates should be noted and reminder services are available from some of the adrenaline pen websites. Adrenaline auto-injectors that have been used or due to expire should be replaced immediately. Allergy medication prescribed for a child with a food allergy should be documented on a written allergy action plan for the childs school or after school clubs or activities. Allergy action plans are individual to the person, listing their food allergies and providing advice on the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, as well as instructions on what medication to give and when.
Allergy action plans for children can be downloaded for free from the website. These action plans need to be completed by a Health professional.
What Is An Almond Allergy Or Intolerance
An almond allergy or intolerance is a set of symptoms brought on after being in contact with almonds. While most people can eat almonds in moderation with effects, those with an intolerance to almonds are likely to feel different levels of sickness after eating almonds.
One reason for an allergic reaction is because the body may identify almond proteins as foreign. This can happen when tiny particles leak into the bloodstream during digestion. This triggers an immune response which can cause inflammation.
As with all food allergies, the severity and type of symptoms are different from person to person. Symptoms may also take up to 72 hours to appear.
Below are 3 of the most common almond allergy symptoms.
Does Product Size Affect The Likelihood Of An Allergic Reaction
Product size does not affect the likelihood of a reaction; however, the same brand of product may be safe to consume for one product size but not another. This is because product formulation may vary between different product sizes of the same product or be produced in a different facility. Always read the ingredient lists carefully.
What Are Tree Nuts
Theres more to learn about protecting your baby from tree nut allergies. Read our Food Allergy Guide to discover how you can lower your childs risk of developing a tree nut allergy.
Most people know that tree nuts include a large variety of nuts. But what makes a tree nut a tree nut? And how are they different from peanuts?
What Makes a Tree Nut a Tree Nut?
Tree nuts are technically the seeds of certain fruit-bearing trees. The tree nuts youve heard of like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, pecans, cashews, etc. all grow on trees. What makes them different from other tree-growing fruits like apricots and avocados is that the outermost shell is very hard, and the meat inside is hard or leathery.
With most fruits, you eat the outermost skin and the sweet meat that surrounds the seed. Think of a biting into a juicy peach the skin and the meat are both soft. In the case of a tree nut, you cannot eat the outermost layer or the meat – its way too hard. Instead, you eat the seed itself. And unlike a peach pit which has an inedible skin surrounding the seed, in a nut, there is a thin, edible skin surrounding the seed.
Why is this important?
Tree Nut Families
Peanuts and Tree Nuts are Different
Heres Why Almonds Are Not Nuts
In the botanical world, a nut is a dry, hard-shelled fruit. But as you can see, almonds have a fleshy outer layer. Therefore theyre technically not nuts, but a different kind of fruit called a , said Tom Gradziel, an almond researcher at the University of California, Davis.
You could compare them to another drupe you know well.
Almonds are basically peaches, Gradziel told HuffPost. But instead of the fruity part becoming fleshy, most of it sizes up in the kernel.
Almonds are indeed a member of the prunus family that includes peaches, though not the same species. The plants are incredibly similar. Both Gradziel and Richard Rosecrance, a fruit tree researcher at California State University, Chico, told of farmers in Asia who breed peach-like fruits for their large, edible kernels, which can be removed from the pit and snacked on like almonds.
In the U.S., farmers mix almonds outer flesh into feed for dairy cows, Gradziel said.
Eating Out With Peanut Or Tree Nut Allergy
The risk of accidental exposure to food allergic trigger/s can never totally be removed, but some simple precautions will reduce or minimise the risk:
- Contact the restaurant, cafe or home cook that you plan to visit in advance, and let them know of the food allergy.
- On arrival at arestaurant or cafe, ask to talk to the manager about any dishes that should be avoided,. Also ask them to let the chef know so they can take extra care in preparing your meal, to reduce the risk of cross contamination.
- Don’t rely on the menu descriptions of what is in the food. For example, pesto and dips may have nuts in them, and many salads have nuts or seeds added for texture. Sometimes nuts can be added to gravies and sauces too.
- Think about the cooking methods, possible cross contamination and the likelihood of shared utensils and cookware.
- Teenagers or adults who are eating out can cautiously touch test a small amount of the food on their outer lip before putting it in their mouth. Tell-tale warnings such as a burning, chilli-like reaction, and tingling or swelling, should alert you to the possibility that food allergen is present.
- If an adrenaline autoinjector has been prescribed, always have it and your ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis with you. For people who are not thought to be at risk of anaphylaxis and therefore have not been prescribed an adrenaline autoinjector, an ASCIA Action Plan for Allergic Reactions should be provided by a medical doctor.