There’s nothing like the scent of garlic and onion to say that something totally delicious is cooking in the kitchen! They’re two of the most aromatic herbs and spices which people love to grow in their garden and use in their flavorful culinary dishes.
If you present with an allergy to onions and garlic, however, you might have to ditch these ingredients instead of dishing them out. Otherwise, if you consume food with either of these ingredients, then your hypersensitivity to them would trigger an allergic reaction. The only antidote to a true allergy of this sort would be avoid them completely and eliminate them from your diet strictly.
An allergic reaction to garlic and onion isn’t all too common; in fact, it’s a rare condition diagnosed in people. But once it’s been diagnosed, however, this undoubtedly confirms that you’re hypersensitive to these two herbs.
Classification-wise, these two herbs belong to the Lily family. Together, they’re classified under the Genus Allium, which also includes the likes of chives, leeks, and shallots. Now as to what causes the allergic reaction in you, specifically, it’s the following substances which they contain.
Allyl is an organic compound naturally-occurring in raw garlic and onion. It is characterized as volatile, water soluble, and aromatic to pungent in property. Fresh onions, in particular, contain sulfur-rich compounds known as allyl sulfides. In turn, garlic cloves contain the organosulfur compound allicin. Note that these substances are most potent when they’re fresh, raw, or crushed!
Furthermore, it would surprise you to know that these allergens interact with tree pollen such as birch, hazel, and alder. A cross-reaction happens between allergens from raw onion and pollen from tree. Seasonal in nature, it’s an unusual condition known as Oral Allergy Syndrome. The most common symptoms of this syndrome include itching, tingling, and swelling. These sensations are often limited to the lips, mouth, and throat.
Even in powdered or diluted form, small amounts of these stuffs can and will affect an allergy sufferer.
Your immune response
Apparently, common and everyday as the words ‘onion’ and ‘garlic’ sound, they’re not as harmless and safe as you’d think. For someone who’s hypersensitive to them, they do trigger an allergic reaction. As a contact allergy, this reaction results from coming in touch with or being exposed to substances like allyl and allicin.
Once your immune system identifies their presence as a danger, it responds by releasing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies into your bloodstream. As a fight response, mast cells also start to produce histamines. As the level of histamine rises, your soft tissues start to swell and this manifests as the initial symptoms of an allergy.
Physically, you’d observe these symptoms in the tissues of your skin, nose, sinuses, respiratory passageways, and digestive system. Within minutes, you’d experience swelling of the face, mouth, and throat. Sometimes, a fever may also be felt.
Aside from skin which is flushed, reddened, and hot to the touch, you may also encounter some difficulty in breathing. Once this exacerbates into something more severe, the symptoms would be similar to those of asthma.
Symptoms of heartburn may also manifest. In some instances, people complain of abdominal bloating, flatulence, and cramps. Here, it’s important to differentiate between a case of indigestion versus an actual allergy.
Avoidance and elimination
The simplest way to test for an allergy to onions and garlic would be via a strict elimination diet. You’ll need to remove all those foods which contain possible allergens. In the process, you’ll be able to detect IgE food-mediated allergies which can be traced back to nothing else but alliums.
As a result, you’d be able to devise effective strategies to help you avoid any more of their intake through food consumption. Instead, you’d get rid of these undesirable ingredients in your diet simply by changing your method of food preparation and cooking.