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Strawberry Allergy Guide

Strawberries are among the most consumed fruits around the globe, especially in Summer. When it’s warm weather in the UK, there’s nothing better than eating strawberries with your picnic, with cream watching Wimbledon or in your eton mess dessert. Because of this, there are even periods when strawberry sales outsell household staples like bread and milk.

These delicious fruits also have a myriad of benefits for the body. They’re packed with more vitamin C by weight compared to oranges. They can help regulate blood pressure, boost immunity and even prevent wrinkles. The red colour that strawberries possess is due to the presence of various flavonoids, which are suitable for reducing cholesterol levels. Strawberries are a great snack that is low in calories hence why most people love them. One hundred grams of strawberries only packs 50 calories.

Despite many people loving strawberries, some individuals can experience a negative reaction to strawberries, which can either be an intolerance or an allergy. Strawberry Allergy, even though uncommon, still affects some people. This issue occurs when the immune system mistakes the proteins in strawberries for harmful substances. This leads to the production of histamines and antibodies, leading to allergy reactions which we term strawberry allergy symptoms.

The main compound that causes strawberry allergy is Fragaria allergen 1 (fra a1). This protein is responsible for the reddening of strawberries when they ripen. Other rare strawberry varieties don’t turn red when they ripen, and these lack this compound, hence don’t cause allergic reactions {1}. However, these strawberry varieties aren’t easy to purchase because of their rarity compared to white strawberries.

Strawberry allergy symptoms

The symptoms of strawberry allergy vary from mild to severe, depending on the person. Most people experience mild to moderate symptoms. However, it’s possible to encounter more severe, life-threatening symptoms. The most common strawberry allergy symptoms include:

  • Itching and inflammation of the throat and mouth.
  • A feeling of tightness in the throat.
  • Congestion.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Coughing and wheezing.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Hives.

There are different types of reactions that one can have when they’re allergic to strawberries, these include:

Oral allergy syndrome with strawberries

Woman with itchy and red neck
A woman with an itchy neck

Strawberries contain allergens that trigger symptoms in people suffering from oral allergy syndrome (OAS). OAS includes symptoms such as itching, swelling and tingling in the mouth or throat. The treatment for this is heating the fruit, since the proteins change when a food is heated, or simply avoiding it. To avoid having OAS symptoms when eating strawberries, you’ll need to avoid fruits in the Rosaceae family, as they contain similar proteins to those in strawberries. Therefore, you’ll need to avoid peaches, apples, cherries, pears, and other fruits in the Rosaceae family. These OAS symptoms often appear 5-15 minutes after consuming raw fruits. The symptoms are always mild, affecting the throat and mouth and causing inflammation.

Mucosal irritation

Strawberries can cause various reactions, including mucosal irritation due to acidic pH. In some cases, merely touching strawberries can result in allergic contact dermatitis.

Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is caused by IgE mast cell degranulation. Symptoms include hives, swelling, wheezing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhoea and low blood pressure. If you notice someone having these symptoms, it’s best to call 911 as they need immediate medical attention since this is a dire condition.

Symptoms of strawberry allergy that are mild are often treated with OTC medication. In instances of anaphylaxis, an EpiPen is used to reduce the symptoms. However, in such severe cases, one must stay under the doctor’s watch for a few hours to ensure they’re treated if the symptoms come back, which they can after a few hours.

How long does an allergic reaction to strawberries last?

On a short-term basis, some strawberry allergy symptoms take a week to disappear, mainly if they’ve caused reactions on the skin (like hives from strawberries). In contrast, other symptoms can leave quickly if you take antihistamines, but the time it takes depends on the severity of the symptoms. Sometimes strawberry allergic reactions reoccur a few hours later, and that’s why it’s beneficial to stay under the doctor’s care for observation, especially if you’ve suffered from anaphylaxis. Research looking at the prevalence of strawberry allergy in Bosnian children found that only 3-4% of the early-years group had this allergy. However, the percentage decreases to 0.5-1% in late childhood {2}.

In children, it’s hard to say how long their allergic reaction to strawberries will last since it is possible for them to outgrow allergies. However, if you’re an adult, your strawberry allergy will probably stay with you for the rest of your life, and it’s something that you’ll need to manage and learn to live with.

Risk factors of strawberry allergy

Strawberry allergy can affect anyone, but some factors increase your chances of suffering from this food allergy. If your family has a history of allergies, eczema, or asthma, you’re at a higher chance of suffering from strawberry and other common food allergies. Anyone can develop a strawberry allergy at any time, but it is more common for children to develop an allergy. Children have a higher rate of allergies than adults because their immune system is still developing. However, even though their chance of developing allergies is higher, children also tend to outgrow allergies as they get older.

It is also possible to develop specific food allergies even when you have no family history of allergies. For example, when it comes to children, delaying the introduction of allergenic foods increases the risk of developing food allergies. It is advisable to introduce allergenic foods to babies between months 5 and 7. Early introduction of these foods reduces the chances of developing reactions to them. If your little one reacts to eating any food, talk to their doctor.

Foods to avoid with strawberry allergy

While some people may consume cooked strawberries without getting any reactions, it’s better to talk to a doctor before trying this, especially if you have moderate to severe reactions to strawberries. Certain fruits have similar proteins to strawberries since they’re in the same Rosaceae family, which you’ll need to avoid. They include:

  • Apples.
  • Cherries.
  • Raspberries.
  • Peaches.
  • Blackberries.

If you suffer from strawberry allergy, you may also have an allergy to:

Complete Body Test
Complete Body Test
  • Latex.
  • Birch Pollen.
  • Bananas.
  • Some nuts, such as hazelnuts.
  • Celery.
  • Carrots.
  • Apricots.
  • Melon.

If you’re unsure which food is causing your symptoms, you might benefit from taking an Allergy Test to rule out the common allergens that could be causing you discomfort. Also, if you cannot tell whether you have an intolerance or allergy, you could order a Complete Body Test, which tests for allergies and intolerances including strawberry intolerance. Once you’re certain you have a strawberry allergy, you should avoid these fruits when they are on their own and in flavourings.

Strawberry allergy testing

It’s clear how having a strawberry allergy may lead to other allergies restricting your diet. If you have reactions every time you consume strawberries, it’s best to eliminate them from your diet and take extra care when consuming fruits within the Rosaceae family. If you’re not certain what is causing your allergy symptoms, we recommend you take a simple at home allergy test to determine the cause. Strawberry allergy and other food allergies can often affect a person’s quality of life, and that’s why it’s better to know which ones you have, so you can adjust your diet accordingly to avoid any reactions. Over-the-counter medications can help relieve your allergy symptoms when they’re mild or moderate. However, to prevent uncomfortable symptoms again, you should plan your diet accordingly to avoid these fruits.

References

  1. Cottingham K. (2007). Allergic to strawberries? Try a white one. (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/pr070772v)
  2. Bajraktarevic, A., Trninic, S., Penava, S., Mahinic, A., Begovic, B., Selmovic, A., … & Sporisevic, L. (2011). Prevalence of strawberry allergy in Bosnian children and management. Clinical and Translational Allergy, 1(1), 1-1.

Onion Allergy Guide

An onion allergy occurs when your body mistakes onions for harmful substances. This, in turn, triggers the immune system to release antibodies to fight the “harmful” substance, and that’s when we witness onion allergy symptoms such as itchiness, vomiting, trouble breathing, and others. Onions are a common ingredient in salads and all cooked meals. It is hard to come across a restaurant or home where onions aren’t used as a primary ingredient in making stews, curries, and stir-fries. This is why it can be challenging to manage an onion allergy.

When suffering from onion allergy, different people get affected in varying ways. For example, one may get a reaction from smelling or touching onions or consuming onions, whether raw or cooked. While some people get reactions from only smelling, touching or eating raw onions (raw onion allergy), others get the same symptoms from cooked onions. Onions are part of the genus allium, which also consists of shallots, leeks, garlic, and chives. If you’re allergic to onions, it is possible to get the same reaction with other plants in the allium family. Sometimes, it may not be an allergic reaction but rather a sensitivity. This cross-reactivity is because these plants contain similar internal makeup, which the immune system can mistake for onions, producing the same immune attack resulting in onion allergy symptoms.

Not all alliums are edible; others are ornamental (inedible) and may trigger a reaction in some people through touch. If you’re allergic to onions, this means that you’ll react to all types of onions. For example, you’ll also suffer from a red onion allergy and a spring onion allergy. There won’t be any exceptions to the types of onions you’ll react towards.

Onion allergy symptoms

A woman holding her stomach.

Symptoms of onion allergy vary from one person to the other regarding mildness and severity. Once you smell, consume or touch onions if you’re allergic, you can expect symptoms to show up immediately or within a span of two hours. There are, however, others who may not experience the allergy symptoms for a few more hours. If you’re allergic to onions, you will experience a few of these symptoms that may be internal or external. These common symptoms of onion allergy include:

  • Itching and tingling in the mouth.
  • Hives or rashes all over the body.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, lips, face, or throat.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Gas.

The above symptoms often are mild and can be easily managed by home treatment. However, if you experience severe gastrointestinal issues, it is wise to visit a doctor. It is common for the symptoms to stop once the onions have left your body. In rare cases, however, onion allergy can result in life-threatening symptoms. Anaphylaxis associated with onion allergy has been reported before after consuming raw onion {1}. When one experiences anaphylaxis, there is a dire need to immediately access medical help, as this condition can easily take one’s life. There are specific symptoms you can witness that will help diagnose anaphylaxis. These are:

  • Confusion.
  • Dizziness.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Loss of consciousness or fainting.
  • Sweating.

Upon getting urgent care, a doctor will prescribe an Epinephrine pen (EpiPen). One should always carry this in person in case there are any accidents and anaphylaxis occurs. If you’re with someone and you can see they’re suffering from anaphylaxis, use an EpiPen if they have one and still rush them to the emergency room for observation. Observation is essential since these symptoms can recur after a few hours, so it’s best to stay under the doctor’s care.

Onion and garlic allergy

If you’re suffering from an onion allergy, it is common to find that you’ll have the same reaction to garlic. These two ingredients are from the same genus (allium), which means the proteins in these foods are similar, and the body mistakes one for the other. This confusion that goes on in the immune system is known as cross-reactivity. You may also find that you’ll have the same allergic reaction to other alliums like chives, shallots, leeks, and scallions. The cross-reactivity level for different vegetables in this genus varies amongst different individuals.

Onion Intolerance

complete-intolerance-front
Our Complete Intolerance Test Box.

The most common and well-known reaction to onions is intolerance. Onion intolerance often comes with many gastrointestinal symptoms. Often with onion intolerances, you may find that you have an underlying condition that is leading to all the gastrointestinal mishaps. In such cases, you’ll need treatment for the core ailment, which could eliminate the intolerance. However, in other cases, you’ll find that your doctor won’t be able to see any underlying conditions that could be leading to symptoms similar to the ones we’ve mentioned. It can be difficult to determine which food is causing an intolerance, as symptoms can occur days after consuming the problem food. To be sure which food item is causing symptoms, you could take an Intolerance Test. Our complete intolerance test looks at reactions to onion, garlic and 157 other items.

Onion Allergy Testing

If you have a reaction every time you consume onions, you should see your doctor, give them your history, and explain your symptoms. If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms but are unsure what is the cause, you may benefit from taking an allergy test. An allergy test will check your sample against all common allergens in your food and immediate environment then we’ll send you a list of the foods you need to avoid because you’re allergic.

Our allergy test is ideal since you don’t have to make a doctor’s appointment or wait in their office for hours on end to know what’s causing your symptoms. You can order easily online, get delivery within three days, take a sample, and once you send it back you’ll have your results within seven days via mail. With this test, you don’t have to stop working because we’ll take care of everything else while you have an uninterrupted life.

Foods that can cause onion allergy

When suffering from an onion allergy, you must avoid alliums, including shallots, garlic, chives, mugwort tea, leeks, and scallions. Avoiding all of these is the easiest way to prevent getting any symptoms. However, it can be very difficult to avoid onions since they’re in many processed, prepared, and packaged foods. When reading labels under the term ‘seasonings’, you’ll often find that alliums fall into that category. Always read labels carefully; if you’re unsure about the components, call the manufacturer, and they will let you know. You can, however, avoid foods with unclear labels.

It is also important to note that the FDA doesn’t require manufacturers to list onions as an allergen. However, manufacturers are required to list all ingredients. If the ingredient list doesn’t seem to tell you all you need to know, it is safe to pass it up and only deal with fresh ingredients rather than pre-packaged foods. By doing so, you’ll be taking extra care of your body since you’ll know every ingredient that goes into your meal. It is common to find alliums in foods like:

  • Flavoured cheese.
  • Salsa or Pico de gallo.
  • Flavouring packets.
  • Broths.
  • Frozen or pre-made pizza crust.
  • Frozen entries.
  • Crackers.
  • Premade soups and sauces.
  • Deli meats.
  • Frozen foods.

If you’re generally allergic to alliums, you’ll also have a reaction to flowering amaryllis plants, which are primarily ornamental alliums and various varieties of lilies. Be extra careful when contacting these types of flowers, as they may cause a reaction if you’re extra sensitive.

Onion allergy treatment

When you have an onion allergy, there are various ways you can manage it at home. These include:

  • Epinephrine: This autoinjector is used in treating anaphylaxis that doctors prescribe.
  • Hydrocortisone cream: Topical use can help reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Aloe Vera: If you have itchy hives, aloe vera can help soothe the redness that comes with itching, even though it can’t help histamines level in your blood.
  • Antihistamines: You can find these available as sprayed medications or oral. This medication blocks histamine production, reducing or eliminating minor allergy reactions like nasal congestion, hives, and itching.
  • Albuterol sulphate inhaler: This bronchodilator helps increase airflow through the bronchial tubes.

Even though the above forms of treatment can soothe your immediate symptoms, the best way to treat allergies is by avoiding these trigger foods. In this case, you will need to avoid onions and some alliums, if not all. Even though avoiding these will be hard at first, you will also enjoy a symptom-free life which is better than rushing to the emergency room every time. You can easily enjoy your meals without alliums and onion allergy symptoms.

References

  1. Arena, A., Cislaghi, C., & Falagiani, P. (2000). Anaphylactic reaction to the ingestion of raw onion. A case report. Allergologia et immunopathologia, 28(5), 287–289.

Nut Allergy Guide

Nut allergies are among the most common food allergies affecting adults and children equally. Peanuts are legumes like chickpeas and lentils, and there is a difference between peanut allergy and tree nut allergy. However, around 25-40% of people with peanut allergies are allergic to at least one other nut {1}. Most people with a nut allergy have it for a lifetime, however, approximately 14% of children with a tree nut allergy and 20% with a peanut allergy end up outgrowing them. If you’re a parent and have a child with a nut allergy, there is a chance that siblings of this child will have the same allergy.

Even though peanuts grow underground, unlike tree nuts, those with peanut allergies have the same symptoms as those with tree nut allergies. When you’re allergic to nuts, your immune system reacts to nuts as it mistakes them for something harmful. The first time you consume or inhale nuts, your body won’t react, but your immune system identifies and prepares to act on it if you ever consume it again. So, the next time you contact nuts, your body makes antibodies to fight these nuts. The antibodies latch onto the proteins in nuts – this triggers the immune system, which releases histamines. Histamines are what cause uncomfortable allergy symptoms.

Nut allergy symptoms

Symptoms of a nut allergy range from mild to severe, varying from one person to the next. These symptoms occur within minutes to hours of contact with nuts, either through inhaling their powder, consuming them or, in extreme cases touching them. Common allergy symptoms include:

  • Raised red bumps on the skin – hives (urticaria).
  • Swelling of the lips.
  • Tightening of the throat.
  • Digestive symptoms – cramps, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting.
  • Tingling of the throat and mouth.
  • Itchy skin and nut allergy rash.
  • Runny nose.

The above symptoms are always mild to moderate, which is simple to treat with over-the-counter medications. However, nuts are known to cause severe allergic reactions called anaphylaxis. You can identify it through symptoms like:

  • Difficult or noisy breathing.
  • Difficulty talking or a hoarse voice.
  • Wheeze or persistent cough.
  • Swelling of the tongue.
  • Swelling or tightness of the throat.
  • Persistent dizziness or collapse.
  • Paleness and floppiness in young children.

These reactions could be life-threatening, and there is a need for immediate medical care. If you have an Epinephrine injector, use it to administer adrenaline and you can repeat this if your symptoms don’t go away within 5-15 minutes. You also need to call 999 in such situations for help. If you have a nut allergy, you must carry two EpiPens (Auvi-Q, EpiPen, Symjepi) and learn how to use them. If your young one has severe allergies, the drug palforzia may help them lessen the symptoms when they’re exposed.

Is coconut a nut allergy?

Coconuts are not nuts. However, some people allergic to nuts will also be allergic to coconuts. There is also evidence of cross-reactivity between coconuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Evidence also suggests an association between coconut allergies with macadamia and almond allergies. Even though there are associations, the chances are pretty low, but you also need to be sure. The same applies to tree nuts. You can find that a person with one tree nut allergy is allergic to other tree nuts but not all. For example, you could have a cashew nut allergy and not have a Brazil nut allergy.

Can you develop a nut allergy?

Although nut allergies are common in children, they can also appear in adults. As an adult, you can have a sudden nut allergy even though you never had it as a kid. However, the chances of developing a nut allergy as an adult are low. Children are the ones who mainly develop nut allergies and many other types of allergies, which they then could possibly outgrow later on in life. Some people, however, have a higher chance of developing nut allergies. Risk factors of nut allergies include:

  • Age: Infants and toddlers often develop food allergies, but as they mature, they are less likely to have these triggers.
  • Other allergies: You’re likely to develop nut allergies if you have allergies such as hay fever or other food allergies.
  • Past allergies: If you had an allergy, let’s say, peanut allergy as a child, it can likely recur when you’re an adult.
  • Family history: Having family members with food allergies puts you at a higher risk of developing the same.
  • Atopic dermatitis: Some people with this condition or eczema also have a food allergy.

Nut allergy treatment

Woman with nut allergy avoiding a plate of nuts
A woman with a nut allergy

There is currently no medicine that will completely treat nut allergy. The best course of treatment for nut allergy is avoidance of them. Ensure you read menus, food labels, ingredients, and so on. You will have to thoroughly read the ingredients in products and food to avoid accidents. Research on using immunotherapy to treat nut allergies is underway. There is, however, a way to prevent nut allergy in children {2}. Giving your child the allergen within 4-6 months may reduce the chances of developing an allergy. You can do this with any food allergens, and it will reduce the risk of developing these food allergies by up to 80%. Children at a higher risk of developing nut allergies are those with eczema, egg allergy or both. Before you introduce possible allergens to your baby, consult their doctor.

Spices to avoid with a nut allergy

It is common for cross-contamination to occur between nuts and spices. So, a person allergic to a specific protein present in nuts may also have the same reaction to spices with similar proteins. However, none causes the other. If you have a nut allergy, it is best to avoid cumin. Cumin can be found on its own or as a part of a spice mix, and often uses nuts as a filler.

Apart from peanuts, if you have nut allergies, you’ll need to avoid the following:

  • Almonds.
  • Hickory nuts.
  • Walnuts.
  • Pecans.
  • Pistachios.
  • Macadamia nuts.
  • Cashews.
  • Hazelnuts.
  • Brazil nuts.
  • Pine nuts.
  • Lychee nuts.
  • Acorns.

Nut allergy test

If you think you are allergic to nuts but you want confirmation, ordering an Allergy Test online is a great option. You’ll receive your test kit, take your sample easily, send it back to the labs, and receive your results within seven days. Our allergy test will analyse your sample against 38 key allergens, including almond and hazelnuts. This allergy test will help you narrow down the nuts you’re allergic to and any other allergens your body is reacting to in your environment, drinks, and food. After this test, you’ll have a clear way of seeing things, and you can finally control your diet and make it work for you. Knowing your allergies allows you to be more informed when cooking, purchasing items and even eating out.

References

  1. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Tree Nut. (https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/food/tree-nut/)
  2. Parrish, C. P. (2018). Management of peanut allergy: A focus on novel immunotherapies.(https://www.ajmc.com/journals/supplement/2018/managed-care-perspective-peanut-allergy/management-of-peanut-allergy-a-focus-on-novel-immunotherapies)

Kiwi Allergy Guide

Kiwi, also known as Chinese gooseberry, is a fruit which is relatively common in people’s diets as it is rich in nutrients and tasty. However, there are some individuals who experience uncomfortable symptoms after eating or touching the fruit. Kiwis can impact individuals in different ways, with some people experiencing severe reactions that others only notice mildly.

Most kiwi fruit allergy symptoms are mild, but this does not mean that individuals cannot respond severely, even sometimes with anaphylaxis. It has been suggested that it is more common for children to experience severe reactions to kiwi compared to adults. Even though having a kiwi allergy means you’ll not tolerate eating kiwis, it can also lead to cross-reactivity with other foods, pollen, or latex. Kiwi allergy is becoming a common issue worldwide, which is why we’ve created this Kiwi Allergy Guide to tell you more about symptoms, cross-reactivity and testing.

What is kiwi allergy?

A kiwi allergy occurs when your immune system mistakes the proteins present in kiwi as harmful substances like viruses or bacteria. After this mistake, the immune system sends white blood cells, IgE antibodies, and other compounds to fight off the “harmful” substances. When the immune system responds in such a manner, even though you don’t have any harmful substances in the body, you’ll witness kiwi allergy symptoms. The proteins present in kiwi fruit that result in allergy symptoms include actinidin, thaumatin-like protein, and kiwellin. However, studies show that the compound 30 kDa thiol-protease actinidin is the major kiwi allergen {1}. People with a kiwi allergy also tend to be hypersensitive to other foods.

Kiwi allergy symptoms

Kiwi fruit allergy symptoms are divided into two categories because there is true kiwi allergy and oral allergy syndrome.

Oral allergy syndrome

Also known as pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS), the body accidentally confuses certain foods for pollen. This leads to the production of mild allergic symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Itching of the mouth, lips, and tongue after eating the fruit.
  • Skin rashes.

You will notice that Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) symptoms are rising or at their worst when pollen counts are high. OAS symptoms often only last for a few minutes before they disappear.

True kiwi allergy symptoms

When experiencing a true allergy to kiwi, the symptoms tend to be more severe than OAS. If one experiences symptoms like anaphylaxis, there is a need to get them to the emergency room. These include:

  • Abdominal pains.
  • Rashes.
  • Vomiting.
  • Trouble breathing/anaphylaxis (more common than in OAS).
  • Eczema is a skin condition that involves raised, itchy patches.
  • Hives.

If you have a mild reaction when eating kiwi, such as itching around your mouth, it is best to stop eating the fruit because the next time you consume it, the symptoms will reappear. Most true kiwi allergies happen within the first 20-30 minutes of consumption.

Kiwi latex allergy

Latex is a natural product produced by rubber trees and other similar trees. You’ll often find latex in condoms and surgical gloves. Latex allergy often increases the risk of getting different allergic reactions like kiwi allergy. Kiwi and latex share at least two similar allergens hence why they’re tightly connected to each other. If you’re allergic to latex, you might also have a higher risk of getting an allergy to bananas and avocados. The reason for this relationship between latex and fruits is due to the similarity in the compounds present in these fruits and latex. Latex compounds are also similar to compounds present in certain vegetables, fruits, nuts, and tree pollen. So, an allergy to kiwi may also mean you’ll have a latex allergy, through cross-reactivity. Having a kiwi allergy also means that you may be allergic to other fruits and vegetables that share similar compounds to this fruit.

How long does kiwi allergy last?

Kiwi allergy symptoms start a few minutes after contact or consumption of the fruit, mainly within the first two hours of consuming the fruit. For children, it’s possible that they may outgrow their allergies once they enter teenagehood. However, for adults, you need to find ways to manage the allergy since kiwi fruit will always be an allergy you need to deal with. Specific skin-related symptoms like hives and rashes may take at least two days to clear up in the short term. However, if you suffer from a severe allergy to kiwi, you must visit the hospital even after using an EpiPen because sometimes the symptoms reoccur approximately four hours after the first symptoms. Hence, it is best to stay under the doctor’s supervision if the symptoms reoccur in severe cases.

Kiwi allergy in children

Kiwi is a known allergen, and even though kiwi fruit is full of vitamins and nutrients, you shouldn’t wean your baby with kiwi if you have a history of allergies in your family. Babies have weaker immunity and tend to have many allergies even though they outgrow them late on. You can always consult your doctor if you’re worried about kiwi. If your child has an upset stomach, bloating, or even diarrhoea after eating kiwi fruit, these can be symptoms of an allergy. Some other symptoms you may see from an allergic reaction to kiwi include:

  • Redness or swelling around the lips and mouth.
  • Excessive crying.
  • Irritability.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Scaly or red patches on the skin.
  • Hives.

If you suspect your child may be allergic to kiwi, you should take them to a doctor if their symptoms are mild and resolve quickly, or straight to the emergency room if they are severe.

Kiwi allergy testing

basic allergy test
Basic Allergy Test.

If you suspect you may be suffering from a kiwi fruit allergy, then we recommend you visit your doctor and present your symptoms, and they will help you know whether you may have any underlying conditions that could be causing your symptoms. If you’re unsure if kiwi is the specific cause of your allergy symptoms and want to gain more insight, you could order yourself a simple home Allergy Test. At our laboratory, we will test your sample against common allergens in your environment and your food. After a comprehensive review by our scientists, you will get your results on your phone in seven days, showing you foods you need to keep away from since you’re allergic to them.

An allergy test only tells you what you need to avoid. However, you’re the one who needs to do the heavy lifting. The only way to manage an allergy to kiwi is by avoiding the fruit in all ways possible. While some people can consume cooked kiwi since the proteins are inactivated, others can’t. However, you don’t need to try cooking kiwi down to eat it; you can always substitute it for other healthy and nutritious fruits. Be careful when eating salads, drinking smoothies, and generally eating food not prepared by you at home. If you’re eating somewhere other than your home, always let the host or staff know about your allergy so you can prevent yourself from suffering from any kiwi allergy symptoms.

References

  1. Hassan, A. K., & Venkatesh, Y. P. (2015). An overview of fruit allergy and the causative allergens. European annals of allergy and clinical immunology, 47(6), 180-187.

Allergic Rhinitis Guide

Allergic rhinitis is believed to be the most common allergic disease in the world, affecting approximately 10-30% of the adult population {1}.

What is Allergic Rhinitis?

The condition is categorised by inflammation of the upper airways, including nasal obstruction and itching, sneezing and rhinorrhea. These symptoms are caused by inhaling allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mould, animal dander or wood dust. Considering allergic rhinitis already affects so many of us, and prevalence rates are increasing, we’ve put together a guide to learn more about the disorder. Firstly, we’ll talk about how there are different types of allergic rhinitis.

Perennial Allergic Rhinitis

Perennial allergic rhinitis is experienced across the year, not pertaining to a certain month or season. This perennial version of the disorder is often caused by house dust mites or pets who are a constant in the house.

Another Name for Allergic Rhinitis

Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis is often called hay fever.

Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis

Seasonal allergies occur when pollen counts are high, depending on the type of pollen that causes your rhinitis. Tree pollen is common in early spring, grass pollen is more typical of late spring and summer, whereas ragweed pollen is common in autumn. There are myths about hayfever, including that hay and flowers are the causes but this is not the case.

Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

A woman with a headache
A woman having a headache

The main symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

  • Sneezing.
  • Itchy or blocked nose.
  • A cough.
  • An itchy mouth.
  • Streaming or itchy eyes.
  • Headaches and sinus pain.

Allergic rhinitis has been described as a world health problem since these symptoms can impact absenteeism from work or school, decreased productivity, less sleep, and more doctors appointments. It has even been suggested that the condition causes low job productivity globally even more than high blood pressure and diabetes {2}.

Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma

Allergic rhinitis and asthma frequently co-exist and have a close relationship, wherein at least three out of four people with asthma also have allergic rhinitis. The two conditions share a similar pathology, but influence the upper and lower airways differently.

Health professionals use the ‘Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma’ (ARIA) guidelines to determine the influence of allergic rhinitis on your life in order to tailor treatment plans. They will look at the duration of symptoms (intermittent or persistent) as well as their severity (mild, moderate or severe).

Allergic Rhinitis vs Covid

Although the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and covid-19 can overlap, you should still be able to determine whether you are experiencing allergies or covid. Coronavirus symptoms are more likely to include a dry cough and fever, as well as shortness of breath. If you are unsure, we recommend you take a covid test.

Allergic Rhinitis Treatments

There are different ways to manage your allergic rhinitis to calm symptoms from impacting your day-to-day life.

Nasal Spray for Allergic Rhinitis

Corticosteroid nasal sprays can effectively reduce inflammation in the nose which reduces itching and sneezing. Nasal sprays are available in local pharmacies, or you may be able to have stronger versions prescribed for you based on your doctor’s recommendation.

Antihistamine for Allergic Rhinitis

Antihistamines can effectively control itching and sneezing in those who have mild allergic rhinitis. However, this treatment does not seem as useful in tackling a blocked nose. For individuals with seasonal or situational allergic rhinitis, antihistamines can be used as a preventative measure prior to coming into contact with the allergen, for example if you are allergic to dogs you may take an antihistamine pill before going to someone’s house where there is a dog.

Immunotherapy for Allergic Rhinitis

Immunotherapy is possible for individuals who have moderately severe allergic rhinitis which is impacting their quality of life. Specific immunotherapy involves administering increasing doses of an allergen in order to induce tolerance to it over time. This treatment can prevent you from experiencing allergic symptoms in the future as well as reduce your risk of developing asthma as a result of rhinitis.

Allergic Rhinitis Test

If you take an at home allergy test, you can be notified whether you are allergic to environmental factors such as bahia grass, birch, or cladosporium herbarum, as well as cat and dog dander. It is beneficial to understand your body so that you can be prepared when you come into contact with these allergens again.

References

  1. https://rjme.ro/RJME/resources/files/630222413419.pdf
  2. https://www.mdpi.com/1648-9144/55/11/712/htm

Garlic Allergy and Intolerance Guide

Garlic is a bulbous plant that is used to enhance the taste of many savoury dishes, in all traditional cuisines around the world. Garlic has a pungent smell and a savoury flavour that it adds to meals. However, if you have a garlic allergy, the mere inhalation or its aroma can cause reactions all over your body. Garlic belongs to the allium family, meaning that if you’re allergic to garlic, you may also experience reactions to other spices like chives, leeks, and shallots. Garlic allergy and onion allergy are commonly linked because most patients experience an allergy to both bulbs as they contain specific similar allergens {1}. Garlic allergy is relatively uncommon compared to garlic intolerance, but it still does exist and can be life-threatening. If you’re allergic to garlic, this means that consuming raw or cooked garlic will cause the same reactions, and it’s only best to avoid this spice. Within this guide, we will discuss both garlic allergy and intolerance, including symptoms and ways of testing.

Causes of garlic allergy

Garlic allergy, similar to other allergies, occurs when the body comes in contact with a foreign substance, and your immune system reacts to it. When you have a garlic allergy, your immune system assumes that this substance is “harmful” even though, in reality, it’s not. When your immune system releases antibodies to fight something that’s not typically harmful to the body, it’s what we refer to as an allergic reaction. Food allergies are a specific type of allergy that can be triggered by even the smallest amount of the trigger object or food. Food allergies affect around 8% of children and 3% of adults.

The most common types of allergies are shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, and eggs. Compared to these, garlic allergy is among the rare allergies people suffer from. According to most clinical trials, garlic’s most common side effects are body odour, bad breath, and garlic allergy.

Garlic allergy symptoms

Garlic allergy symptoms are often experienced within a few minutes of contact with garlic, but for others it may take a few hours before they can witness them. The most common symptoms are those that affect the skin, like rashes and asthma. These garlic allergy symptoms can show up even after touching or inhaling garlic. Symptoms of garlic allergy can either be mild or severe depending on the individual’s reaction. Symptoms include:

  • Skin inflammation.
  • A tingling sensation of the lips, mouth, or tongue.
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose.
  • Itchy nose.
  • Sneezing.
  • Itchy or watery eyes.
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Hives, itching, or redness of the skin.
  • Swelling around the mouth, tongue, face, or throat.
  • Anaphylaxis.
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Dizziness or fainting.

Differentiating garlic allergy and garlic intolerance

Garlic allergy, as seen above, can be very dangerous because when symptoms like anaphylaxis show up, this tends to be life-threatening and needs immediate medical help. On the other hand, garlic intolerance is not as serious and can’t be life-threatening. The severity of garlic intolerance increases with the amount of garlic you consume. Food allergies are often confused with food intolerance, which also applies to garlic. It is wise to note that garlic intolerance symptoms often dwell in the gastrointestinal tract. In contrast, garlic allergy symptoms often include skin reactions, like contact dermatitis.

While garlic allergy results from the immune system mistaking garlic for a dangerous substance, food intolerance is due to the body being sensitive to the proteins present in garlic or the body lacking enzymes required to digest proteins in garlic. When you suffer from garlic allergy, it doesn’t matter how much you consume; you will still experience the symptoms. However, the amount of garlic you often consume matters in garlic intolerance. Most people have some tolerance for the food they are intolerant to. So, if you consume too much of that food or ingredient, that’s when things go wrong, and you experience severe symptoms.

The symptoms of garlic allergy happen within a few minutes to two hours. In garlic intolerance, it may take up to three days to witness the symptoms, which makes it hard to pinpoint the cause to a specific food item or ingredient. Food intolerance symptoms take a long time to show up because food must reach the colon first before you can see or witness any signs.

Intolerance to garlic

complete-intolerance-front
Our Complete Intolerance Test Box.

Garlic intolerance is caused by the lack of certain digestive enzymes that are supposed to help break down or process garlic. Intolerance to garlic can also be caused by other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, or even stress. Intolerance to garlic and other foods is often a result of a myriad of issues, and that’s why we advise you to talk to your doctor to check for underlying problems before you can take our Intolerance Test kit.

When a certain food isn’t broken down in the small intestines, it gets pushed to the colon. Here, it ferments and forms gas, and that’s when you start hearing the stomach rumble, and you get gassiness and stomach cramps. Having garlic intolerance can be very uncomfortable because of these symptoms. It is common for these symptoms to subside and finally come to a halt once you’ve passed on the food, which in this case is garlic.

Garlic intolerance symptoms

Symptoms of garlic intolerance dwell in the digestive tract but are not limited to there. The symptoms of garlic intolerance often vary from one individual to the next based on your level of intolerance for that specific food item. Symptoms of garlic intolerance include:

  • Bloating.
  • Gassiness.
  • Stomach ache or cramps.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Coughing.
  • Headaches.
  • Nausea.
  • A runny nose.

Garlic intolerance remedy

The best way to remedy garlic intolerance is by avoiding consuming garlic. The same applies to garlic allergy. It is possible to find substitutes for this flavour and add it to your meals to prevent experiencing symptoms after eating food loaded with garlic. You can also talk to your doctor (once you’ve proved you have garlic intolerance by taking an Intolerance Test). Under their supervision, they can help you go on a garlic-free diet for a couple of weeks, and after you’re finally feeling well, they’ll help you reintroduce it slowly. This method can help you know the amount of garlic you can use without experiencing a reaction. However, this method is not effective for garlic allergies, where the only remedy is to completely cut it out from your meals.

You may also notice that when you have a garlic allergy or garlic intolerance, you will also suffer from reactions when you consume foods from the same family as garlic. These include:

  • Onions.
  • Chives.
  • Leeks.
  • Shallots.

Garlic is part of the allium family, meaning you may be allergic or intolerant to the above foods. That’s because the proteins or allergens in these foods are similar to each other, and if you’re allergic, your immune system will react to them in the same way. This is known as cross-reactivity. You will also need to be careful about what you’re eating by asking for the ingredients or checking the ingredients list when food shopping. You’ll find that most soups, pre-made marinades, and mixed spices contain garlic, and you’ll need to keep away from these. An allergy to garlic means that you will always have to be careful to avoid any contact you may have with this spice. Sometimes people with garlic allergy can also experience cross-reactivity with pollen allergies like birch pollen {2}.

Testing for garlic allergy and garlic intolerance

If you suspect you may suffer from either garlic allergy or intolerance, you need to talk to your doctor about your history and symptoms. Doing so will help the doctor determine what issue you may be having and whether there could be underlying diseases. If there aren’t any, you can take an Intolerance Test or an Allergy Test. You can pick these depending on which symptoms you have based on what’s listed above, or read more on our page dedicated to allergies vs intolerances. But if you’re still unsure, you can take an Allergy and Intolerance Test to check for both.

These home-lab test kits are great at helping you determine what could be causing the symptoms. It could be a garlic allergy, intolerance, or other foods you consume regularly. These tests check for common allergens to help you determine what is the cause of your symptoms. You can order your preferred test kit online, have it delivered within three days, and once you’ve collected your sample, send it back to the lab for testing, upon which you’ll receive your test result within a week. Find out more about your body and health without even leaving your home!

References

  1. Almogren, A., Shakoor, Z., & Adam, M. H. (2013). Garlic and onion sensitization among Saudi patients screened for food allergy: a hospital based study. African Health Sciences, 13(3), 689-693.
  2. Asero, R., Mistrello, G., Roncarolo, D., Antoniottib, P. L., & Falagiani, P. (1998). A case of garlic allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 101(3), 427-428.

Avocado Allergy Guide

Avocados are a popular fruit used in salads, brunches, sandwiches and guacamole. They offer a range of health benefits, as they are high in fibre, healthy fat and nutrients. However, for some people, avocados trigger uncomfortable intolerance or allergy symptoms. Within this guide, we will discuss the difference between an avocado allergy and intolerance, including symptoms and methods of testing.

Are avocado allergies common?

Avocado allergies are uncommon, and are not considered one of the most common allergens in the UK. There are two main causes of this allergy, latex fruit syndrome and oral allergy syndrome.

Oral allergy syndrome

Fruits and vegetables that grow near pollen can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to pollen. Your body can mistake certain proteins in avocados as pollen which generates symptoms for those who have a pollen allergy. As explained in the name, most symptoms in this case occur orally through swelling or itchiness of the mouth, lips or throat.

Latex fruit syndrome

Most common cases of avocado allergy are among those who are also allergic to latex. This phenomenon is called latex fruit syndrome, which occurs because the proteins within latex are similar to those in fruits and vegetables. Therefore, people who are allergic to latex may experience symptoms after consuming certain foods, especially banana, kiwi, chestnut and avocado. It is estimated that 30-50% of individuals who are allergic to latex also experience symptoms when eating plant-based fresh foods. Allergy to avocado without latex sensitisation or oral allergy syndrome is rare, but has been documented before.

Avocado nut allergy

There is not a strong cross-reactivity between nuts and avocados, yet it has been suggested that avocados and chestnuts may both cause symptoms as explained previously by latex fruit syndrome.

Avocado allergies symptoms

Avocado food allergy symptoms include:

  • Hives or rash.
  • Tightness of the throat.
  • Wheezing.
  • Itchiness and swelling of the mouth or throat.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Itchy, watering eyes.

For people who have a severe avocado allergy, there is the chance that consumption could result in anaphylaxis. These symptoms include breathing difficulties, severe asthma, and swelling of the throat which should be taken seriously. If the person experiencing these symptoms owns an adrenaline auto-injector this should be used, and an ambulance should be called as soon as possible.

If you’re unsure if avocado is the cause of your allergy symptoms, you are advised to undertake an allergy test. Through using this at home allergy test, your blood sample will be tested against 38 common allergens. This way you can rule out the main causes of allergies, since avocado is a very rare allergy your symptoms could be caused by a different food item.

Avocado allergies in babies

Avocado is a great food for babies since it has many health benefits and is a perfect texture when ripe. Avocado allergy in babies is rare, yet when introducing new foods into your baby’s diet you should always be cautious. If your baby has experienced allergy symptoms after eating banana, you should be more wary and monitor them closely after trying avocado due to latex fruit allergy.

Allergy symptoms in babies include:

  • Hives or rash.
  • Itching.
  • Red, watery eyes.
  • Wheezing or coughing.

Avocado intolerance

An intolerance is most commonly caused by lacking the enzyme required to digest the problem food, in this case avocados. Therefore it is a digestive response, in comparison to an allergy which is an immune response, indicating the key difference between the two issues.

It is also possible that individuals are intolerant to histamine that is contained within the avocado. In this instance, people will experience symptoms if they eat a food that contains a lot of histamine.

You can test for intolerances from the comfort of your home with our complete intolerance test, which analyses your sample against avocado specifically as well as 158 other potential triggers. From this test, you will be able to get a clearer overview of your health and begin to make changes to prevent symptoms for good.

Avocado intolerance symptoms

If you are intolerant to avocado, common symptoms you may experience are:

  • Stomach pain and gas.
  • Headaches or migraines.
  • Bloating.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Heartburn or indigestion.

Avocado intolerance stomach pain relief

If you are suffering from stomach pain as a result of an intolerance, it is likely that your symptoms will subside once the food has exited your body. While you are feeling the pain, if it’s safe for you to do so you can take pain killers. Otherwise, you could try a hot water bottle or drink some chamomile tea to ease discomfort.

Avocado alternatives

If you’re looking to substitute avocados in your diet,it’s beneficial to consider what functionyour avocado was serving.If you want to replicate the mild flavour and texture, then avocado alternative options include:

  • Mashed banana.
  • Plantains.
  • Nut butters.
  • Hummus.

However, be cautious if you do replace avocados for bananas, as there is a chance you willexperience the same symptoms due to latex fruit syndrome discussed previously.

Final thoughts on avocado allergy and intolerance

If you believe you have an allergy or intolerance to avocado, the first step is to confirm this with a test kit. Despite being a rare intolerance, our intolerance test even tests for avocado as well as 158 other items. If you’re unsure of which test to order, or you have further queries, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with a helpful member of our customer service team.

Milk Allergy vs Lactose Intolerance: What’s the Difference

Milk is a common ingredient in our meals, especially curries and stews. However, consuming milk can be dangerous if one suffers from a milk allergy and bothersome if one suffers from lactose intolerance. Milk allergy and lactose intolerance are very common conditions, especially in infants. Approximately 2% to 3% of children below three years suffer from milk allergy. However, this isn’t a lifelong issue since more than 80% of children outgrow this allergy before they turn sixteen.

Lactose intolerance and milk allergy are often categorised as the same condition, even though both affect different body parts and have varying symptoms. Milk allergy is a broad term, whereas lactose intolerance is quite specific because it involves milk sugar. In contrast, milk allergy is caused by an immune reaction to proteins present in milk. Within this guide, we will go into further detail about the differences between milk allergy and lactose intolerance, including how to test for these conditions.

Milk allergy

When you suffer from a milk allergy, it’s because your body mistakes milk proteins as invaders, which causes the immune system to act by attacking these proteins, thus resulting in severe symptoms sometimes. When your immune system assumes there areinvaders in the body, it sends forth other substances, which often result in those milk allergy symptoms you might experience. Unlike lactose intolerance, milk allergy can be life-threatening in rare cases. So, if one has a milk allergy, it is best to avoid all dairy products or any products containing milk.

Milk allergy symptoms

Most people who are allergic to milk suffer from cow’s milk allergy. However, it is common to be allergic to milk from other mammals like buffalo, sheep, and goats. Symptoms of milk allergy vary from one person to another, meaning one individual may have mild symptoms but others will find consumption potentially life-threatening. Some of the most immediate symptoms after consumption of milk products include:

  • Hives.
  • Wheezing.
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Itchiness or a tingling feeling around the lips or mouth.
  • Coughing or shortness of breath.
  • Vomiting.

Some milk allergy symptoms may take a little bit longer to show. These include:

  • Loose stools or diarrhoea, which may contain blood.
  • Runny nose.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Colic, in babies.

Baby milk allergy

Most baby formulas contain cow’s milk. If you have a child, you will notice the first symptoms of milk allergy days to weeks after introducing the milk-based formula {1}. Milk allergy has a rare occurrence in breastfed children. Milk allergy symptoms vary between infants, and even though the first reaction may be mild, the next one could be severe and life-threatening, so you should keep a keen eye on their symptoms. The most common signs of milk allergy in babies include:

  • Skin reactions (itchiness, redness, swelling around the face).
  • Digestive problems (like diarrhoea, constipation, stomach ache, colic, or vomiting).
  • Hay fever symptoms.
  • Eczema.

Luckily, most children find they no longer suffer from milk allergy as they grow older. When your child has immediate symptoms like swelling in the mouth or throat, cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and noisy breathing, it is life-threatening anaphylaxis, and you should call the emergency services for help. If you have an EpiPen, you can use it on your baby and then go to the hospital because sometimes symptoms of anaphylaxis reoccur within hours of the first symptoms. It would be wise for your child to stay under observation. If your child has a milk allergy, it is recommended to have an EpiPen in case of emergencies.

Difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergy

Lactose intolerance is mainly caused due to insufficient lactase enzyme, thus affecting the digestive system and causing gastrointestinal symptoms. Milk allergy, however, involves the immune system. This means that the immune system mistakes milk proteins for bacteria or viruses, thus releasing histamines which create symptoms of milk allergy. A difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergy is that one affects the immune system while the other impacts the digestive tract.

Lactose intolerance can cause uncomfortable symptoms, but it can’t be life-threatening unlike milk allergy. In rare cases, milk allergy results in anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition. In contrast, lactose intolerance is caused by lactose, a sugar in milk. Milk allergy results from an immune response to proteins present in milk.

Lactose intolerance

complete-intolerance-front
Our Complete Intolerance Test.

Lactose intolerance is a condition affecting the gastrointestinal tract upon consumption of milk and dairy products. Dairy products contain a sugar known as lactase. People suffering from lactose intolerance tend to have insufficient lactase enzymes in their bodies. The lactase enzyme is what digests lactose. So, when you have inadequate lactase enzymes in your body, the sugar in milk isn’t digested in your small intestines as it should be but is instead moved to your colon. When in the colon, undigested lactose is broken down by bacteria causing bloating, gas, and diarrhoea, which can be very uncomfortable but not dangerous—most symptoms of lactose intolerance centre around the gastrointestinal tract {2}.

Lactose intolerance symptoms

Lactose intolerance and milk allergy share some gastrointestinal symptoms. You may notice that the symptoms vary from one person to the next when suffering from lactose intolerance. Common signs of lactose intolerance include:

  • Diarrhoea.
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Bloating.
  • Gas.

How long do lactose intolerance symptoms last?

Since lactose intolerance symptoms mostly happen in the digestive tract, it takes around thirty minutes to two hours for the symptoms to start showing after consuming dairy. These symptoms can last as long as there is dairy in the digestive tract. Once you’ve passed it all out, which can take up to 48 hours, the symptoms will stop. The mildness or severity of lactose intolerance symptoms varies from one individual to the next.

What happens if you ignore lactose intolerance?

Milk contains proteins, calcium, and vitamins A, B12, and D. Lactose also serves as a tool that helps you absorb other essential minerals such as zinc and magnesium. If you keep consuming lactose even though you know of your intolerance, this may affect your health. You will experience worsened symptoms of lactose intolerance, reduced quality of life, and lower mood.

When you have chronic diarrhoea as a result of lactose intolerance, this may lead to anaemia, malnutrition, and unhealthy weight loss. You may risk developing:

  • Osteoporosis: A condition where weak and thin bones can easily break.
  • Osteopenia: A condition where one has low bone mineral density. If untreated, it can result in osteoporosis.
  • Malnutrition: A condition where the food you eat doesn’t provide you with essential nutrients for healthy body functioning.

The primary way to avoid developing these conditions is by avoiding anything with lactose and focusing on supplementing calcium. Calcium is necessary for healthy bones. There are various alternative sources of calcium in plant-based foods which you can look into. Finding alternative food sources helps you keep your diet balanced and your body healthy.

Can you develop lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is very common among adults. Many humans cease producing enough lactase to digest milk between ages 2 and 5. Unlike milk allergy, lactose intolerance isn’t a true allergy, and you can develop it at any age. Sometimes people develop lactose intolerance because of the presence of other diseases, while at times, it develops without any triggers present. Lactose intolerance has been seen as most present in those of Asian, African, Mexican, and Native American descent.

Diseases that often cause lactose intolerance injure the intestines’ cell lining, which can affect the body’s lactase production, hence lactose intolerance. Such diseases include:

  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Gastroenteritis.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Ulcerative colitis.
  • Celiac disease.
  • Antibiotics or other medications.
  • Surgery.

Home lactose intolerance test

If you believe your symptoms point towards an intolerance, you can order a comprehensive Intolerance Test. This home-lab test will prevent you from going back and forth to the lab, as you can complete the test at home then send off your blood sample. Your sample will enter our laboratory for testing, and within a week, you’ll get your results. We test against 159 food and drink items, including milk, goat milk, sheep milk and soy milk. Before taking this test, however, you need to consult your doctor to see if you’re suffering from any underlying diseases, as some other conditions can cause lactose intolerance.

If your symptoms seem more similar to those of a milk allergy, then you can order your milk Allergy Test. This test will check for allergies that you may have in your body, and you’ll get back your results within a week. If you may have any other food allergies with symptoms similar to those of a milk allergy, then you will know through this test. You can, however, take an Allergy and Intolerance Test if you aren’t sure whether you’re suffering from a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. This combined test will give you the clarity you need.

Milk alternatives

You need to reduce your dairy intake to avoid lactose intolerance symptoms. You can do so by purchasing milk alternatives instead of cow’s milk, which are found in most supermarkets. These include:

  • Flax milk.
  • Soy milk.
  • Rice milk.
  • Almond milk.
  • Coconut-based milk.
  • Cashew milk.
  • Hazelnut milk.
  • Hemp milk.
  • Oat milk.

References

1. Goldman, A. S., Anderson Jr, D. W., Sellers, W. A., Saperstein, S., Kniker, W. T., & Halpern, S. R. (1963). Milk allergy: I. Oral challenge with milk and isolated milk proteins in allergic children. Pediatrics, 32(3), 425-443.

2.Swagerty Jr, D. L., Walling, A., & Klein, R. M. (2002). Lactose intolerance. American family physician, 65(9), 1845.

The 14 Common Allergens

Food allergies occur when you consume allergen foods that your immune systems mistakes for harmful substances. Your body will then release chemicals such as histamines which cause inflammation and thus symptoms of allergy. It doesn’t matter the amount of food you consume with the allergen. You’ll still experience allergy symptoms within a few minutes to a few hours of consumption.

Since there are many common allergens in foods we consume daily, the way allergens are labelled on pre-packed foods has changed. The Food Information Regulation, born in December 2014, also introduced a regulation that food businesses must provide information about allergenic ingredients in any foods they sell {1}. In the UK, there is a list of 14 allergens (which we list in this article) that sellers must list if used in any of their products {2}.

There are mainly 14 common allergens in the UK. The 14 main allergens include:

Gluten and wheat

A wheat allergy occurs when one’s immune system responds to the proteins in wheat. Most children suffer from wheat allergy but tend to outgrow it once they reach ten years of age. On the other hand, gluten allergy or celiac disease occurs when one has an abnormal immune reaction to gluten present in many grains, including wheat. So, when suffering from a gluten allergy or celiac disease, you’ll also need to avoid grains like wheat, rye, barley, and oats. These are often found in flour, baking powder, batter, breadcrumbs, cakes, couscous, meat products, pasta, pastry, sauces, soups, and fried food.

What to look for in food labels

Wheat, Kamut, Einkorn, Faro, Durum wheat, Semolina, Spelt, Barley, Rye, Oat, Malt, and Couscous

Common foods with gluten

Bread, Baked goods, Baking mixes, Condiments, Chocolates, Sauces, Pasta, Crackers, Cereals

Sulphites/Sulphur Dioxide

Mostly you’ll find sulphites are mostly added to beverages and canned foods to make them last longer. However, some foods like aged cheese and grapes naturally contain sulphates. People with asthma are likely to develop this allergy.

What to look for in food labels

Sulphur, E150b Caustic sulphite caramel, E150d Sulphite ammonia caramel

 Sulphur Dioxide, Sulphite, Sulphites, Dithionite, Metabisulphite, Sulphiting agents, Potassium bisulphite, Metabisulphite, Sodium bisulphite, E220 Sulphur dioxide, E224 Potassium metabisulphite, E221 Sodium sulphite, E222 Sodium hydrogen sulphite, Sulphurous acid, E223 Sodium metabisulphite, E226 Calcium sulphite, E228 Potassium hydrogen sulphite

Common foods with sulphites or sulphur oxide

Pickled foods and vinegar, Beer, wine and cider, Dried fruit eg dried apricots, prunes, raisins etc., Maraschino cherries, Tinned coconut milk, Guacamole, Dehydrated, pre-cut or peeled potatoes, Vegetable juices, Bottled lemon juice and lime juice, Some soft drinks, Grape juice, Condiments (bottled sauces etc.), Fresh or frozen prawns, Some processed meat products

Celery

An allergy to celery includes celery leaves, stalks, seeds and the root called celeriac. Celery is present celery in celery salt, salads, meat products, soups and stock cubes.

What to look for in food labels

Celery seed, Celery leaf, Celery salt, Celeriac or Celeriac, Celery stalk

Common foods with celery

Vegetable juice, marmite, savoury snacks, sausages, curry, spice mixes, soups, bouillon, processed meat products, and prepared salads

Crustaceans

Crustaceans mostly have hard shells and walk around with jointed legs. These include Crabs, lobster, prawns and scampi. The most common one among them is shrimp paste used in Thai and Southeast Asian cooking.

What to look for in food labels

Amphipods, barnacles, crabs, mussel shrimp, mysids, hermit crabs, crayfish, isopods, lobsters, mantis shrimp, sea spiders, shrimp, and prawns

Common foods with crustaceans

Paella, Chinese products, Soups, Asian Salad, Thai Curry, Prepared sauces, Fried rice, Fish paste, Fish Soup

Egg

Egge allergies are pretty common, especially in children. It is the second most common allergy in children {1}.

What to look for in food labels

Albumin, livetin, lysozyme, mayonnaise, meringue, meringue powder, apovitellin, egg yolk, egg wash, eggnog, cholesterol-free dried egg solids, dried egg, egg substitute, egg, egg white, fat substitutes, globulin, ovalbumin, powdered eggs, silici albuminate, ovoglobulin, ovomucin, ovomucoid, ovotransferrin, ovovitelia, ovovitellin, simplesse, surimi, trailblazer, vitellin, and whole egg

Common foods with eggs

Meringue, Marshmallow, Artificial flavouring, Egg glazed pastry, Some ice cream, Baked goods, Lecithin, Natural flavourings, Nougat, Pasta, Salad dressing, Mayonnaise, Marzipan, Tartare Sauce, Hollandaise, Cakes, Some custard

Fish

Fish allergies are pretty common, affecting around 7% of the population. You’ll find that some individuals develop a fish allergy in adulthood too. Fish allergies result from finned fish like tuna, salmon, catfish, and cod. You can be allergic to finned fish and not shellfish since these two have varying proteins that result in allergens.

What to look for in food labels

Anchovies, perch, scrod, swordfish, sole, pike, pollock, bass, catfish, snapper, tilapia, trout, cod, flounder, grouper, haddock, hake, halibut, herring, Mahi Mahi, salmon, and tuna

Common foods with fish

Barbecue sauce, caesar salad and caesar dressing, soups, barbecue sauce, caponata, pizza, Worcestershire sauce, bouillabaisse, meatloaf, imitation or artificial fish or shellfish), a Sicilian eggplant relish, num pla, dips, gelatine, and relishes.

Lupin

Even though lupin is a flower, it’s also found in flour. You can use lupin flour and seeds in some bread, pastries, and pasta.

What to look for in food labels

Lupine, Lupin flour, Lupin seed, and Lupin bean

Common foods with lupin

Pies, products containing crumbs, pizzas, waffles, pastry cases, pancakes, crepes, vegetarian meat substitutes, and deep-coated vegetables such as onion rings

Milk

Milk allergy is mostly the first seen in children, and while some outgrow this allergy, others don’t. It is also possible to develop milk allergy in adulthood. Proteins like whey and casein are most responsible for an allergic reaction in those suffering from milk allergies.

What to look for in food labels

Butter, cheese, cream, milk powders, yoghurt, margarine, cream, and ice cream.

Common foods with milk

Yoghurt, Natural flavouring, Milk, Milk powder, Buttermilk, Butter, Ghee, Flavouring, Caramel flavouring, High protein flour, Chocolate, Instant Mash, Rice cheese, Soy cheese, Cream, Lactic acid starter culture, Ice Cream, Cheese, Custard, and Margarine

Mustard

Mustard seeds contain a primary allergen known as “Sin a 1.” This allergen is still present even when in cooked food. However, brown mustard has a different allergen called “Bra j 1.” Most people allergic to mustard are also allergic to rapeseed.

What to look for in food labels

Mustard seeds, Mustard powder, Mustard flour, Mustard leaves, Mustard oil, Sprouted mustard seeds

Common foods with mustard

Sausages and processed meat products, Cumberland Sauce, Ketchup, tomato sauce, Spices, flavouring or seasoning, Chutneys, Soups, Sauces, Chutney, Piccalilli, Salad dressing, Indian foods, Vegetables with vinegar, Dehydrated soups, Salad Dressings (vinaigrettes and cruditées), Barbecue Sauce, Curry Sauce, Béarnaise Sauce, Mayonnaise, Pesto, Gravies, Marinades, Chutneys pickles and other pickled products

Mollusc

Molluscs include land snails, mussels, squid, and whelks but can also be found in oyster sauce, a common ingredient in fish stews.

What to look for in food labels

Oysters, Snails, Clams and cockles, Abalone, Squid, Scallops, Mussels, Mussels, Octopus, Oysters

Common foods with mollusc

Ethnic Food, Mussel dishes, Soups, Sauces, Scallops, Calamari

Tree Nut

Most people suffering from peanut allergies often have more tree nut allergies. Tree nuts grow on trees, unlike peanuts which flourish underground. Examples include cashew nuts, almonds and hazelnuts.

What to look for in food labels

Almond, Walnuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Pecan Nuts, Brazil Nuts, Pistachio Nuts, Macadamia or Queensland Nuts.

Common foods with tree nut

Nut butter, chocolates, salad dressings, bbq sauce, chocolate spread, artificial flavouring, baked goods, mortadella, natural flavouring, nougat, pesto, pesto, crackers, and desserts.

Peanuts

Peanut allergies affect a vast population of people worldwide. Peanuts are also called groundnuts because they’re legumes that grow underground, which is why they’re also known as groundnuts. Often, peanuts are the most common cause of anaphylaxis.

What to look for in food labels

Extruded or expelled peanut oil, mixed nuts, nut pieces, crushed nuts, ground nuts, monkey nuts, beer nuts, nut meat, Arachis oil, kernels, peanut protein, peanut butter chips, peanut butter morsels, arachic oil, cold pressed, crushed peanuts, Arachis, Arachis hypogaea, artificial nuts, beer nuts, boiled peanuts, earth nuts, goober peas, ground nuts, hydrolyzed peanut protein, ground peanuts, mandelonas, nutmeat, peanut butter, peanut flour, peanut paste, peanut sauce, peanut syrup, and Virginia peanuts.

Common foods with peanuts

Graham cracker crust, hydrolyzed plant protein, artificial flavouring, baked goods, candy, chilli, chocolate, crumb toppings, egg rolls, enchilada sauce, ethnic foods: African, Thai, Vietnamese, Asian, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Mexican, fried foods, flavouring, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavouring, marzipan, mole sauce, nougat.

Sesame

You’ll find sesame seeds in baked foods or used to make certain dips. Sesame is often sprinkled on buns used to make hamburgers and in other foods like breadsticks, houmous, sesame oil and tahini.

What to look for on food label

Sesame seeds, Sesame oil, Gingelly, Gingelly oil, Benne, Benne seed

Common foods with sesame

Bread, tahini butter, soups, marinades, chutney, crackers, dressings, toasts, dips, hummus, sauces,

Soya

Soya is commonly consumed around the world. It contains lots of protein and is thus good, especially for vegans, plant-based and vegetarians.

What to look for on food labels

bean curd, edamame beans, miso pates, textured soya protein, soya flour, tofu

Common foods containing soya

Soy milk, Soy oil, Bean sprouts, Canned tuna, Surimi, Natural flavouring, Artificial flavouring, Hydrolyzed plant protein, Asian foods (e.g. Japanese, Chinese, Thai, etc.), Baked goods, Soy sauce, Tamari sauce, Teriyaki sauce, Miso, Vegetable broth, Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), Vegetable gum, Vegetable starch

Allergy symptoms

Symptoms of food allergies include:

  • Hives
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Face, tongue, or lip swelling
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Swelling of the throat and vocal cords
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Coughing or wheezing
basic-allergy-test-front
Our Basic Allergy Test Kit.

In rare cases, food allergies can be life-threatening, leading to a severe condition known as anaphylaxis. Even though most symptoms of food allergies only result in skin reactions and digestive issues, anaphylaxis can also happen in rare cases, mostly in peanut allergy cases. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

constricted airways in the lungs

Low Blood pressure and shock

Swelling of the throat and larynx

Most symptoms of anaphylaxis start mild and become life-threatening within minutes of happening. When one suffers from anaphylaxis, you must use an EpiPen on them, and if they don’t have one, you need to contact emergency medical services.

Food allergy test

If you suspect you have food allergies, you may need to go to your doctor and see whether the symptoms you’re witnessing could result from underlying conditions. You’ll need to take an Allergy Test home test kit if everything is ruled out. Sometimes figuring out which food is causing you allergy symptoms can be difficult because we consume different foods simultaneously. An allergy test kit will show you which foods you’re allergic to so you can avoid them.

References

  1. https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/about-anaphylaxis/14-major-food-allergens/
  2. https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/media/document/top-allergy-types.pdf

Chickpea Allergy Guide

Chickpeas, or Garbanzo beans, are dried seeds called pulses. Chickpeas belong to the legumes family and are an essential food source to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. It is also a common source of protein for those following vegetarian and plant-based diets. In the UK, chickpeas are primarily consumed in hummus and falafel as core ingredients. The most commonly consumed types of legumes are lentils, chickpea, beans, and peas. The most common legume allergy is lentils, followed by chickpeas {1}.

Even though chickpeas allergy exists, it’s not as common as other allergies such as milk and eggs. Common symptoms of chickpea allergy include skin reactions and, in severe cases, anaphylactic shock. Even though an uncommon allergy, chickpea allergy can be severe and life-threatening. Within this guide, we will discuss chickpea allergy as well as intolerance, and methods of testing.

What is chickpea allergy?

As with all food allergies, chickpea allergy occurs in extreme cases when one eats or touches this legume. Upon proteins in chickpeas getting into the bloodstream, the immune system treats them like invaders. Certain proteins in chickpeas like globulin, albumin, and prolamin are retained even after cooking, and they’re the cause of allergic reactions. Once your body assumes these proteins are harmful invaders, it makes proteins called IgE antibodies. These antibodies then attach themselves to the proteins leading to the release of chemicals known as histamines. The production of histamines is what causes chickpea allergy symptoms.

Chickpea allergy symptoms

Chickpea allergy symptoms are similar to those of other food allergies. You’ll notice that symptoms appear soon after consuming chickpeas or in a few hours. The severity of chickpea allergy symptoms varies from one person to the next. While some people have mild symptoms, others have severe and intense symptoms. Common chickpea allergy symptoms include:

basic-allergy-test-front
Our Basic Allergy Test
  • Burning or tingling in your mouth.
  • Itchy mouth.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Nausea.
  • Swelling in the mouth, throat, face, or other body parts.
  • Throwing up.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Red, itchy skin without bumps.
  • Sneezing.
  • Itchy eyes.
  • Wheezing.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Itchy, red, raised bumps called hives.

Sometimes it can be difficult to ascertain which food item is causing your allergy symptoms, since there can be many ingredients in food products. Because of this, taking an allergy test is beneficial to rule out different foods and get an indicator of which items your body doesn’t agree with.

Chickpea allergy cross-reactivity

When suffering from chickpea allergy, it is possible to experience allergy symptoms when eating foods processed or cooked in the same environment or facility as chickpeas. These foods can be contaminated with chickpea protein leading to cross-contamination.

Cross-reactivity also occurs when you eat foods that contain proteins similar to those in the one you’re allergic to. For example, if you have a chickpeas allergy, you can have cross-reactivity to foods like {2}:

  • Green peas.
  • Kidney beans.
  • Fava beans.
  • Fenugreek.
  • Black-eyed peas.
  • Peanuts.
  • Black beans.
  • Haricot beans.

Therefore, it’s important to be aware if you’re trying a different legume, you may experience the same symptoms.

Chickpea allergy in babies

Usually, food allergies develop within the first year of life. Because of this, you will likely notice a chickpea allergy when you begin to introduce baby food containing the food item into your child’s diet. Chickpea allergy in babies shows up within a few minutes upto two hours of consuming these legumes. Symptoms of chickpea allergy in babies may appear after inhalation during cooking, touching, or oral ingestion. If your baby is allergic to chickpeas, you’ll notice similar symptoms to the ones listed above. Common symptoms include skin redness, hives, rashes, and inflammation. In some cases, chickpea symptoms can worsen, and anaphylaxis can occur, a very severe condition that, if not treated, may be life-threatening. If your child suffers from chickpea allergy, you must have an EpiPen to carry at all times in case of an emergency.

Chickpea intolerance

Even if you don’t suffer from chickpea allergy, you may experience symptoms because of chickpea intolerance. Chickpeas intolerance arises when we lack the enzyme required to digest it. This leads to fermentation in the large intestines and gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating and stomach ache. Unlike chickpea allergy, chickpea intolerance isn’t life-threatening, nor does it trigger the immune system. The symptoms can be uncomfortable and diminish your quality of life, but they won’t threaten it. You can learn more about the difference between a good allergy and food intolerance.

We do not possess the enzymes required to break down certain FODMAPS, and chickpeas are among those. Chickpeas are made up of oligosaccharides. These sugars can also be found in foods like rye, onions, and garlic. This means that chickpeas can easily pass through the mouth, stomach, and small intestines without breaking down. Upon arrival in the large intestines, they ferment, causing you a lot of discomfort.

If you have an intolerance but want to continue eating chickpeas, the best way to reduce the chances of symptoms is by soaking them overnight. This reduces the sugars in them significantly, preventing you from having gas problems. Another way to help your stomach, too, would be to supplement the enzyme that could aid in the digestion of chickpeas. Supplementation allows you to consume chickpeas and not suffer gastrointestinal issues.

When you’re suffering from certain digestive tract diseases, it is wise to avoid chickpeas as they may worsen your condition and symptoms. These conditions include:

  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Ulcerative colitis.
  • Diverticulitis.
  • Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.
  • Lactose intolerance.
  • Hirschsprung disease.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.

Chickpea Intolerance Symptoms

The severity or mildness of chickpea intolerance symptoms varies from one individual to the next. The most common symptoms include:

  • Bloating.
  • Headaches.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Excessive gas.

If you’re unsure which food is causing your intolerance symptoms, we recommend you order a complete intolerance test, which analyses your sample against 159 food items. Your results will indicate which items could be causing you issues, so you can begin to make lifestyle changes, starting with an elimination diet.

References

1. Martínez San Ireneo, M., Ibáñez, M. D., Sánchez, J. J., Carnés, J., & Fernández-Caldas, E. (2008). Clinical features of legume allergy in children from a Mediterranean area. Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, 101(2), 179–184. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1081-1206(10)60207-4

2. Bar-El Dadon, S., Pascual, C. Y., & Reifen, R. (2014). Food allergy and cross-reactivity-chickpea as a test case. Food chemistry, 165, 483–488. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.05.138