Allergies and Food



Allergies and the Food You Eat

There was a recent article in the LA Times about the connection between seasonal allergies and food allergies. The article examines the possibility of certain foods triggering seasonal allergies, and offers suggestions to help. If you get an itch in the back of your throat when you eat something you may have a food allergy, or food sensitivity. The gut is one of the biggest sources for your immune system. It is filled with a natural flora of bacteria that acts as your protection from outside intruders.

If you have food sensitivities and also suffer from seasonal allergies you might have oral allergy syndrome (OAS). Similar substances found in both pollen and some raw produce cause the connection between food and seasonal allergy symptoms. It is estimated that about one-third of people with seasonal allergies also develop these kinds of localized allergic reactions, or sensitivities to food. It is your body’s immune system reacting to these proteins in your foods that may be causing your symptoms.


How to recognize it:

The main signs that you might suffer from OAS are swelling of the tongue, mouth, throat, or lips. You might also notice an itchy mouth or ears, and a scratchy throat directly after eating raw fruits, vegetables, or nuts. The irritation goes away quickly without treatment. If you experience symptoms of body wide swelling, anaphylactic reactions, hives, or a racing pulse you may have a dangerous and possibly deadly food allergy. Seek a medical doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.


Common Cross Reactions:

Allergic to birch pollen? You may react to apples, almonds, carrots, celery, cherries, hazelnuts, kiwis, peaches, pears, and plums.

Allergic to grass pollen? You may react to celery, melons, oranges, peaches, and tomatoes.

Allergic to ragweed pollen? You may react to bananas, cucumbers, melons, sunflower seeds, and zucchini.


What you can do:

It is skin of the produce that is filled with the proteins that you may be reacting to, so be sure to peel the produce when you are able. Cooking the food may also help deactivate the offending proteins. Try to steam or bake your produce to ease your body’s reaction to it. Keep a good diet and be sure to exercise. This will help increase your body’s immune system and may decrease its reactions to offending foods. Where possible avoid foods that are causing your OAS symptoms.

Look at my old post titled “Spring is in the air: Allergies” for more tips to help combat your allergy symptoms.


Remember that this information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advice of a health specialist before making any changes to your healthcare.



LA Times: “Was it something you ate?”