Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Minimizing Allergies to Nuts and Fruits

Birch pollens are sometimes to blame in OAS, which can occur any time of the year, but usually during pollen season. The cross sensitivity can occur between birch and other nuts as well as plums, pears, cherries, apples, carrots, peas and sunflower seeds.

I found a study that measured human IgE antibodies in order to evaluate cross-sensitivities. Among tree nuts, there is a strong cross reaction between walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts. So none of those for you!

There's a moderate cross reaction with these: pistachio, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews and Brazil nuts. Of the bunch, cashews and pistachios are pretty tightly correlated, so if you're allergic to one, definitely stay away from the other. I'd avoid the bunch honestly, and consider a blood test to determine food allergies.

One more warning, about my favorite "nut" which I hardly ever eat but still fantasize about: cashews, which are really seeds, not nuts. If you're highly allergic to poison ivy, stay away from these guys. Even the "raw cashews" you see at health food stores are not truly raw.

You simply cannot eat a raw cashew, it must be separated from it's double-shell. In a pain-staking process, it's steamed and/or boiled, but the outer shell contains urushiol, a toxic resin that sparks the familiar skin rash after exposure to poison ivy, oak and sumac.

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