What am I allergic to?
March 11, 2010 6:10 PM   Subscribe

What do the following foods have in common that I could be allergic to: walnuts, eggplant, pineapple, banana, almonds and many other nuts but not peanuts...

That list is ranked in order of how badly it affects me. All of them are fine if cooked well enough.

How does it affect me? It hurts my tongue after I've eaten a decent amount. I have looked in the mirror, and my taste buds literally swell up and they feel like they're about to burst. My tongue is red and the cracks are more evident. I've described the sensation as burning, itching, irritated, but it's not really any of that.
posted by brenton to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Are you allergic to mangos? That's how I first found out that I was allergic to tree nuts. Might be a number of allergies - but tree nuts sounds right given your walnuts and almonds (peanuts are legume).
posted by quodlibet at 6:19 PM on March 11, 2010

It's pretty common to be allergic to tree nuts but not peanuts (or vice-versa)--peanuts are legumes, not nuts.
posted by box at 6:21 PM on March 11, 2010

What do the following foods have in common that I could be allergic to: walnuts, eggplant, pineapple, banana, almonds and many other nuts but not peanuts...

Nothing (well, two of them are tree nuts). You're allergic to more than one thing.
posted by amro at 6:24 PM on March 11, 2010

Response by poster: Yes, mango does the same thing, it's quite bad, actually!

I forgot to ask this in the original post, but one thing that doesn't make sense to me: if it's really an allergy, why does it go away when it's cooked?
posted by brenton at 6:31 PM on March 11, 2010

Best answer: It sounds like you have Oral Allergy Syndrome. I've got it as well.
posted by kate blank at 6:32 PM on March 11, 2010 [4 favorites]

I should note that I can eat all fruits and vegetables that have been cooked -- according to Wikipedia, "Allergens vary in their stability and may or may not not survive digestion, storage, heat, cold, cooking or pasteurisation".
posted by kate blank at 6:34 PM on March 11, 2010

FYI, pineapple contains bromelain, a protease that will literally digest your tongue, which explains why many people feel the way you described (red, painful tongue) after eating it without having an immune reaction (i.e. allergy) to it per se.
posted by halogen at 6:37 PM on March 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I agree, your symptoms sound like OAS - especially if the burning/itching is confined to tongue, lips, and the throat, and your symptoms are worse in summer/fall. Kate Blank is right - cooking does destroy the proteins causing reactions, so most people can eat the same things cooked with no reactions. Weird... I'm allergic to most OAS culprits *except* the ones you listed! But people with this allergy do seem to have oral reactions to a wide variety of produce and nuts. After years of reactions and an increasing list of things I've become allergic to, I finally got a blood test last summer. It didn't do much but confirm I had OAS, but it was nice to put a label to it (I'd advise against a skin/scratch test for this kind of allergy, as they often produce false positives and false negatives with this kind of food allergy)
posted by raztaj at 6:44 PM on March 11, 2010

I know that there is a ragweed allergy that can manifest itself in weird things like chamomile, melons, and bananas. I'm quite certain I have it.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 6:49 PM on March 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's something on ragweed allergy.
And something on Oral Allergy.
And I love how there's a magazine called Allergic Living.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 7:23 PM on March 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oral Allergy. I have it too. I wish there were PSAs about it--changed my life to learn about it. I thought almonds made everyone's throat scratchy! Go to an allergist, they'll almost certainly confirm it.
posted by sweetkid at 7:32 PM on March 11, 2010

Best answer: Yeah, Oral Allergy Syndrome (more info in a previous question). I get it from apples, cherries, almonds and raw berries. Cooking makes them fine. First time I noticed it was minor swelling in my throat from almonds but I thought it was going to keep swelling and I was going to stop breathing. Scary.
posted by mediareport at 7:38 PM on March 11, 2010

I think peanuts technically aren't nuts, they're beans.
posted by anniecat at 8:14 PM on March 11, 2010

Response by poster: Ok, this is amazing. I definitely have OAD. I fit it perfectly. What is amazing is how perfectly this fits to me.

OAD is heavily associated with people who get hay fever... something I'd never heard of before. I thought it was normal to have an absurdly runny nose each spring... Furthermore, I also have a lot of other resulting issues related to hay fever: eczema, sleep problems...

It is amazing to me that I might be able to eat walnuts if I move to a different location that has different allergies, or if I take steroids during allergy season. Maybe I can go on a long vacation during allergy season. This is the most bizarre food allergy ever, and I am so glad that I finally know how to explain to people what is going on when I refuse to eat bananas even though they have watched me eat bananas on other occasions. Thanks, hivemind, this probably will change my life.
posted by brenton at 9:52 PM on March 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thank you for this post. Reading this, I will look into if I have oral allergy: I always wonder why I get itchy lips with some fruit (peach/nectarines mostly) and a terrible scratchy throat after some cereal brands, but no other allergic-ish effects.
Hmm, with fruit I seem to only get itchy lips tongue and throat from fruit, thankfully, so I take to eating a lot of fruit by cutting it up so I can pop it in avoiding my lips :)
posted by SarahbytheSea at 8:41 PM on March 12, 2010

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