Healthy eating has become a trend nowadays. Eating more fresh fruits is desired by most who are concerned about their lifestyle, wellbeing, and overall health. However, this may not be a healthy option for those with allergies to some fruits.
Which fruits cause allergic reactions? How do you know if you have a fruit allergy?
Apricots, bananas, cherries, kiwis, melons, papayas, peaches, pineapples, plums, and strawberries are certain fruits that are known to cause allergies.
The most common symptom is oral allergy syndrome, characterized by allergic reactions in the mouth and throat. There can be tingling, itching, and swelling in the mouth, lips, tongue, throat, and palate. Watery itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing can accompany the reactions. Those with hay fever are most susceptible, especially spring hay fever due to birch pollen, and summer hay fever due to ragweed pollen. They can develop allergic reactions when they eat cross-reactive fruits. Kiwis, strawberries, apples, pears, cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines, papaya, and pineapples are usual culprits.
Other symptoms include pruritis (itching), urticaria (hives), contact dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, and asthma. Handling of fresh fruits like peeling or touching the juice to the lips may cause rashes, itching or swelling where the juice comes in contact with the skin, sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eyes. Strawberries and plums can trigger allergic rashes. Apples and oranges trigger asthma.
More severe symptoms include vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, and on rare occasions, life threatening anaphylactic reactions such as swelling of the throat, wheezing, and trouble breathing. Bananas can sometimes cause anaphylaxis.
What are the best ways to manage a fruit allergy?
Usually, allergic reactions occur when the fruits are raw. Once the fruits are cooked, canned, microwaved, processed, baked, or heated in any way, the allergic effects are reduced. So even if someone is allergic to fresh apples, they will be able to tolerate eating apple sauce, apple jelly, apple juice, apple pie, and dried apples.
Also, note that the most allergenic part of the fruit is the skin, however, not due to the pesticides, chemicals, or wax on its surface. So those who are allergic to fruits such as peaches can eat the flesh without trouble, as long as the skin is peeled away.
The ripeness of the fruit can also determine how allergenic it can get. Freshly picked apples, or unripe apples, may cause milder allergic reactions versus apples that are very ripe, or those that have been stored for weeks after picking.
See if peeling the fruit, or eating partially ripe fruits picked directly from the tree, will result in milder allergies. If the reactions are the same as before, stop eating that certain fruit.
So the best thing that can be done is simply to avoid the fruits that give you allergies, and as long as this is done, medical treatment will not be necessary. But once allergic reactions occur, antihistamine can be taken to relieve symptoms. For severe cases, immunotherapy may be recommended.
To supplement the nutritional aspects of your diet, substitute with other fruits such as grapes, currants, gooseberries, guava, mango, figs, avocado, persimmon, and pomegranates. Consult your general practitioner or any healthcare provider to suggest other healthy alternatives.