I like walnuts, but they don't like me.
August 22, 2007 3:53 PM   Subscribe

Walnuts make my tongue hurt. Does this mean I'm allergic, or is it just their acidity?

I've never noticed swelling, itching, or redness when I eat walnuts, but chewing them makes the inside of my mouth sting for about an hour. Small amounts (say, a few chopped-up walnut bits in a brownie) don't seem to bother me, but I've given up eating them straight. Trying to determine if I should avoid small amounts entirely or if I should eat them in small amounts for my health.
posted by Soliloquy to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like a mild allergic reaction to me. I get the same thing from some fruits. I wouldnt worry about it unless it really starts to become irritating.

And walnuts are certainly not the end-all of nutritious nuts. Plenty of tasty and good-for-you nuts out there to take their place.
posted by elendil71 at 4:03 PM on August 22, 2007

I get that from raw walnuts. Also, from some apples. My dad is really allergic to nuts and apples and peaches, so I've always assumed it's a very mild variant.

My solution is to not eat them.
posted by smackfu at 4:21 PM on August 22, 2007

And to make it clear, I have no other allergic symptoms at all. Just mouth irritation.
posted by smackfu at 4:22 PM on August 22, 2007

I get this too! Am all agog for The Answer.
posted by everichon at 4:34 PM on August 22, 2007

If it's only when they're raw, you may have Oral Allergy Syndrome.

From what I understood from the allergist (I ate a raw peach one day and was very hoarse for a few hours) the reaction occurs when your body thinks the enzymes in the raw food are tree pollens (or whatever you may be allergic to), so cooking denatures them and then it's OK, I can eat cooked/canned peaches with no reaction.

Of course, food allergies (esp. nuts) are nothing to fuck with, so you should see an allergist and see what they think.
posted by JulianDay at 4:38 PM on August 22, 2007 [3 favorites]

it might be the tannins in the skins. do you have issues with red wine?
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:10 PM on August 22, 2007

I get this! I get little sores on the insides of my cheeks. I despise walnuts, so the only time I experience this is when, unbeknownst to me, someone has befouled a brownie with them.

I have also heard it's the tannins. My brother roasted some walnuts from my parents' tree once, and he said they were much, much milder than anything store bought. Less bite, and no oral allergy symptoms. He thought maybe the proper slow roasting reduced the tannins. BTW, my reaction to walnuts is pretty bad, and I have NO other allergy symptoms, oral or otherwise. I do get really terrible face flush from red wine.
posted by peep at 7:43 PM on August 22, 2007

I started getting this from raw almonds a few years back; it also happens with apples and some wild berries. It's not just mouth irritation, though; it also includes minor throat swelling. And it only takes *very* minor throat swelling to spark serious worry about being able to breathe.

I've always wondered if it's a reaction of some kind to a pesticide or other human-produced chemical, but haven't gotten allergy tests to be sure. Probably should, though. Until then, I avoid raw almonds, apples and wild berries.
posted by mediareport at 9:00 PM on August 22, 2007

Son of a bitch, just thinking of walnuts enrages me.

Yeah, I get this, too. Especially when they're raw, but also when cooked or heated. Damn them.

You're probably just allergic to them. I get annoying mouth irritation (I say my mouth itches) from stuff like avocados, bananas, raw pine nuts, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, coconut, cucumber, and other things. A good friend has the same reaction to almost all of the same foods.

I wonder if walnuts and all of those other foods have something in common.

I'm fine with red wine, btw.

Does your mouth get irritated when you eat any other foods?
posted by redteam at 10:45 PM on August 22, 2007

My wife has the same thing with walnuts, but also dark chocolate.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 3:37 AM on August 23, 2007

I get the same thing. Walnuts are a poor substitute for pecans.
posted by electroboy at 6:19 AM on August 23, 2007

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