How To Spot Cumin
The only way to truly know if cumin is used in a product is to read the entire ingredients list. Sometimes restaurants use cumin as a flavoring without listing it on the menu. Therefore, it’s always best to ask before ordering if there is any risk of cumin contamination in the kitchen.
New Guidelines For Preventing Peanut Allergy In Babies
- By Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
Follow me on Twitter @drClaire
In 2015, a study showed that giving peanut products to babies could help prevent peanut allergy. This was exciting news, given that 1-2% of children suffer from peanut allergy, an allergy that can not only be life-threatening but last a lifetime, unlike other food allergies that often improve as children get older.
This is a change for pediatricians and parents, who traditionally have thought that peanut products shouldnt be given until children are a bit older. Its also tricky in that babies can choke on peanuts and peanut butter. And to make it even trickier, the study cautioned that some babies at higher risk of peanut allergy might need testing before trying out peanut products. So it is great news that the American Academy of Pediatrics has come out with a guideline that gives specific guidance to pediatricians on how to implement the findings of the study.
The guideline divides babies into three groups:
- babies with severe eczema and/or egg allergy
- babies with mild to moderate eczema
- babies without eczema or food allergy.
The second group, those with mild to moderate eczema, dont need to get testing although parents should talk to their doctors about their particular situation and see if testing might be a good idea. Those babies should get peanut products at around 6 months of age, once they can handle solid foods.
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Peanuts Tree Nuts And Seeds Are Hard To Avoid
Peanuts, tree nuts and seeds are widely used in Western and Asian foods. This poses significant problems for people with severe peanut, tree nut or seed allergy. Laws require that any product containing peanut, tree nuts or sesame must be clearly labelled. Therefore, it is important to check the labels of all foods before purchase. Further information about reading food labels, food selection and allergen avoidance is available on the ASCIA dietary avoidance information sheets.
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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.
Avoidance Is The Only Proven Treatment For Peanut Tree Nut Or Seed Allergy
The only proven treatment for peanut, tree nut or seed allergy is avoidance of the allergen. Omitting peanuts, tree nuts or seeds from the diet has no adverse nutritional consequences for most people. Children with food allergy should take their own food with them to school and be taught not to swap or share food. In common eating and food preparation areas, where there are children with severe peanut or tree nut allergy, nut-containing foods are best avoided.
In early childhood education/care, with very young children where the risk of food contamination of common eating areas or toys is higher, it may be requested that parents do not send nut containing foods in lunch boxes to reduce the risk. This is not a policy that is considered necessary when caring for older children, although the use of nut or seed containing foods in cooking classes and science experiments is discouraged if there are students with peanut or tree nut allergy in that class.
Research into food allergy is ongoing
The increased frequency of peanut and tree nut allergy is driving research into areas trying to find out why it has become more common, and how to treat and prevent it. Research has shown that early exposure to peanut reduces the risk of allergy developing in high risk infants. Allergen immunotheprapy studies are trying to see if peanut allergy can be switched off once the allergy has developed.
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General Guidelines For Peanut Allergy
When your child has a food allergy, he or she must follow an allergy-free diet. This means your child can’t have the food they are allergic to, or any products containing that food. The items that your child is allergic to are called allergens.
A peanut allergy is the body’s abnormal response to the proteins found in peanuts. Peanut allergy is the leading cause of food allergy-related deaths in the U.S.
In order to not eat foods or use products that contain peanuts, it’s important to read product labels. Peanuts are very different from tree nuts. But some people with peanut allergies also need to stay away from tree nuts. Tree nuts include walnuts, almonds, and cashews.
The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act requires U.S. packaged foods to state clearly on the label if they contain peanuts. Federal law requires that all foods regulated by the FDA must list peanuts as an ingredient if they contain peanuts. The lists below may not include all foods or products to stay away from. But they can help guide your decisions. It is up to you to carefully read all food labels.
Other Hidden Sources Of Peanuts Not In Food
Beyond food, there are places that peanuts can hide, making you sick even though you dont eat peanuts anymore! While you wont be eating these things, you should be aware that a reaction can occur from touching or smelling peanuts. These hidden peanut places include:
- Cleaning Products, especially wood cleaners
Make sure you check these places and use the list above to make sure that you and your family are safe from these hidden peanut sources!
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Spices To Avoid With A Tree Nut Allergy
Cross-contamination is often the reason a spice can trigger your nut allergy, per the Cleveland Clinic. In other words, spices can potentially contain tiny amounts of nut protein if processed in a facility that also handles peanuts or tree nuts. Peanut has also been used as filler in certain spices, which can likewise cause an allergic response, according to the AAAAI.
Here are the spices to watch out for:
- âCumin:â While cumin is not a nut, the FDA previously recalled the spice because it used peanuts as a filler, per the AAAAI.
- âSpice mixes:â Spice blends may also contain cumin, so double-check the label before you eat it.
To avoid an allergic reaction, it’s best to check the nutritional label of a spice before you eat it. Food manufacturers are required to list if a product contains any major allergens, and may also disclose if the product “may contain” or was “made on shared equipment” with nuts, per the Cleveland Clinic.
But if you check the label and you’re still unsure, act on the side of caution and skip the spice or contact the manufacturer for information on the product.
Other common spices â like nutmeg â may sound like they contain nuts, but are actually derived from other types of plants. If you’re wondering if a certain spice is a nut, here’s a table to help you understand where popular seasonings come from:
Where Do Common Spices Come From?
No, it comes from a root.
What Is Peanut Allergy
Peanut allergy is the most common food allergy in children under age 18 and the third-most common food allergy in adults. Peanut allergy is usually lifelong: only about 20 percent of children with peanut allergy outgrow it over time.¹
When a person with a peanut allergy is exposed to peanut, proteins in the peanut bind to specific IgE antibodies made by the persons immune system. Subsequent exposure to peanut protein, typically by oral ingestion, triggers the persons immune defenses, leading to reaction symptoms that can be mild or very severe.
Allergy to peanut is the only food allergy for which a treatment has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Palforzia. There are other treatment protocols currently being used to improve an individuals tolerance to the peanut protein, such as peanut oral immunotherapy, but these are non-FDA approved.
Peanuts are not the same as tree nuts , which grow on trees. ² Peanuts grow underground and are part of a different plant family, the legumes. Other examples of legumes include beans, peas, lentils and soybeans. Being allergic to peanuts does not mean you have a greater chance of being allergic to another legume. However, allergy to lupine, another legume commonly used in vegan cooking, can occur in patients with peanut allergy.
Peanut allergies affect up to 2% of pediatric population, and many will carry this allergy into adulthood.³
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Take Precautions To Avoid Or Deal With Attacks
While curing your allergy may not be possible, you can take precautions to avoid a scary incident.
- Read labels: For starters, pay attention to what you eat. Always read the packaging and double check with restaurants to ensure that your meal doesnt contain anything you are allergic to.
- Inform others: If necessary, carry a card explaining your condition. This way, the right help can be provided should you be unable to communicate during a life-threatening reaction. The card should also carry emergency medical contact information of your doctor and a close family member or friend.
- Carry emergency medication: If your allergy is very severe and can cause anaphylaxis, keep an epinephrine auto-injector with you at all times. This is vital preparation in the case of a reaction from cross-contamination or accidental exposure.7
Once you have zeroed in on your allergies, do not let that hold you back. Knowing your body well means you are in better control and can still enjoy a wide range of foods with just a little care. And if you are especially concerned, the little precautions we have mentioned should arm you to be as much of a foodie as the next person! Bon Appétit!
Can You Prevent A Peanut Allergy
You mightif you feed kids peanut products early.
can seem very scary. They happen when a childs immune system reacts badly to a protein in peanuts. When a child with a peanut allergy eats peanuts, she can have a life-threatening reaction called anaphylactic shock.
Many parents think they can keep their child from getting a peanut allergy if they dont give him peanuts until he is older. But research shows kids are better off if they eat peanut products very early in life.
Feeding infants peanut products from ages 4 to 6 months may prevent them from developing a peanut allergy, says Avraham Beigelman, MD, a Washington University at St. Louis Childrens Hospital. Doing this may protect children from having a peanut allergy and is not harmful.
Peanut ProtectionThe research comes from a study of 600 babies between 4 and 11 months old. One group of babies was given peanut butter or a peanut snack at least three times a week. The other group was not given any peanut products. The study lasted until the children were 5 years old.
Only 3 percent of the kids who ate peanut products became allergic to peanuts. But 17 percent of those who did not eat peanuts did develop a peanut allergy.
Babies at a high risk of peanut allergy should be evaluated by an allergist before eating peanut products, Dr. Beigelman says. We want to be sure they are not already allergic to peanuts.
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Dont Avoid All Nuts Get An Allergy Test Instead
If you do not know if you are allergic to certain nuts, consult an allergist. A combination of medical history, family background, and tests is typically used to determine the presence of allergies. A supervised oral food challenge can also be implemented if other tests are not conclusive. This test entails consuming a small amount of each food in question at the allergists office. Of course, in this scenario, medical help will be on standby.4
Prevention Of Nut Allergies
- Avoid foods that may contain nuts.
- Always check food labels, even for products you know, as ingredients can change. Avoid foods with the label arachis as it is an alternative term for peanut.
- Avoid foods with unknown ingredients.
- Dont eat from buffets as it is most of the times cross-contaminated.
- Take your own snacks or lunches to parties or picnics.
- Everyone in your family and friends circle should know your food allergy.
- Do not give nuts or food containing nuts to your child before the age of three, especially if you have an allergy.
- Be aware that if you have a peanut allergy you might also react to some vegetables, legumes like soy, green beans, kidney beans, baked beans and green peas because these foods contain similar allergens to peanuts.
- Be aware that alcohol can make an allergic reaction worse.
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Does A Nut Allergy Cause Spice Allergy
When a person is allergic to a spice, they are allergic to a specific protein found in the spice and have a reaction to that protein.
However, cross-contamination does occur between some spices and nuts, so a person who is allergic to a specific type of protein in a nut could also be allergic to spices that contain that protein. That said, one doesnt necessarily cause the other.
Common Nut Allergies: Peanuts Walnuts And Cashews
Aside from shellfish, tree nuts are the most common food allergens. This category includes walnuts, cashews, pine nuts, brazil nuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, almonds, and lichee nuts. The peanut, which is a legume that is treated like a nut, also shares this infamy.
Coconuts, on the other hand, are tree nuts that are not associated with severe allergies. The incidence of a coconut allergy is actually quite rare.1
When an allergic reaction occurs, the proteins are the ones to blame. But unlike milder food allergies, allergic reactions to nuts are also associated with anaphylaxis. This is characterized by an extreme, life-threatening reaction. It emphasizes just how crucial it is to know how to recognize a nut allergy.
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What Spices Should You Avoid With A Nut Allergy
Daniel More, MD, is a board-certified allergist and clinical immunologist. He is an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and currently practices at Central Coast Allergy and Asthma in Salinas, California.
A tree nut allergy occurs when a person cannot eat a certain type of nut because their immune system deems certain proteins found within it as harmful. This causes a reaction that can come with mild to severe symptoms. As much as 3% of the worlds population has a nut allergy.
When a person is allergic to a specific nut, certain other foods can set off a reaction because of cross-reactivity. Cross-reactivity is when certain proteins in the food a person is allergic to are similar to proteins in other foods.
This article discusses the symptoms of a nut allergic reaction and spices to avoid due to cross-reactivity.
What Is A Peanut Allergy
Peanut allergies are one of the most common allergies in the world, making it included in the top 8 allergens. It is generally an allergy that is not outgrown as you age. If you become allergic to peanut as an adult, you will probably have this for the rest of your life.
If you are an adult who has suddenly developed a peanut allergy, please be vigilant in your avoidance of this new allergen. Peanut allergies can jump in severity suddenly and catastrophically. A few years ago in the UK an 84-year-old woman suddenly had a dangerous anaphylactic reaction to peanut butter and almost died. She is now 92 and avoids peanuts.
An allergy occurs when the body is exposed to the peanut protein and develops a strong IgE antibody response. This is the bodies own antibodies working to protect the body from something it sees as a threat, in this case a peanut protein. The body responds by triggering the immune system that has different effects on the body that can range from mild to life-threatening.
Can Peanut Allergy Be Prevented
In only the last 13 years, the prevalence of peanut allergy in the U.S. has quadrupled. Recent research, however, strongly suggests that peanut allergy now the nations leading cause of food allergy-related anaphylaxis and death can be prevented through the early introduction of peanut into a childs diet. According to Dr. Joyce Hsu, the Learning Early about Peanut Allergy study may represent the key to reversing our societys disturbing food allergy trend.
LEAP may be the most pivotal food allergy study for our generation, says Dr. Hsu. Since the results were released last year, we have been trying to increase awareness about this new thinking for peanut allergy.
The former thinking, at least in this country, says Dr. Hsu, was that parents should avoid giving their children highly allergenic foods during the first few years of life. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that children deemed to be at risk of developing food allergy not eat peanuts until the age of three. However, cases of peanut allergy continued to rise, and the AAP withdrew its recommendation in 2008.