Why you shouldn't eat apples (and other foods) during allergy season


Wheezy, Sniffly, Itchy, and Foggy.

No, these aren't the names of the dwarfs in the story, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it's your allergies.  

Why you shouldn't eat apples (and other foods) during allergy season

Here’s an all-too-familiar seasonal scenario if you’re an allergy sufferer: you’re plagued by sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose. You blow your nose, wipe your eyes, and massage your sinuses as you wonder, “Will it ever end?” And then you take a bite out of a piece of fruit like an apple or a peach. And your symptoms get worse. What’s going on?

It’s called “pollen-food syndrome” (PFS) or “oral allergy syndrome” (OAS). And it happens when you have an allergy to a pollen and then react to a food with similar antigens. Experts dub this allergic response “cross-reactivity” — when your immune system thinks a protein in a pollen is similar to a protein in a food.

An Italian study found people with grass allergies suffered worse reactions to certain foods than people with dust mite allergies. These include peaches, melons, celery, and tomatoes.

A study out of Germany found about 70 percent of people with allergies to birch tree pollens also reacted to eating certain foods like pears, apples, carrots, and nuts.

Reactions to these foods can cause itchiness and swelling of the lips, tongue, mouth, throat, and face as well as abdominal pain, cramps, and migraines. Doctors suggest avoiding these foods, especially during allergy season.

But if you can’t live without them, these options may help you avoid allergic reactions. Try baking or microwaving the foods to break down the offending proteins. Or substitute canned fruits and vegetables over fresh. You can also peel off the skin. That’s where most of the harmful allergen is found.

Allergic to latex? You may have a problem eating apples, bananas, avocados, or kiwis. These fruits contain proteins similar to those of natural rubber latex that are highly allergenic.

See the following chart to learn more about the foods that trigger reactions if you have pollen allergies.

Possible allergies

 Let Nature Help You Breathe Better

Catch a fish and catch your breath? It’s true. Studies show fish oil can protect against asthma and other inflammatory reactions like allergies.

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Scientists think these fatty acids can regulate inflammation by keeping your body from producing sub- stances that trigger an inflammatory response.

Adding fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines to your diet will give your lungs an extra boost of inflam- mation protection.

Pycnogenol, an extract taken from the bark of a pine tree, is an herbal ingredient that could also relieve asthma symptoms.

In a six-month study, people took 100 milligrams of pyc- nogenol in addition to inhaled corticosteroids, half in the morning and half in the evening. More than half of the participants were able to lower the dose of their inhaler medication, and none had to go on a higher dose.




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  • FC&A Staff Writer