Many people suffer from allergy to fruit, this is one of the food indispensable group in the food chain. Fruits contribute to the food balance because of its content in fiber, vitamins and minerals. One fact that makes them so important is that they are practically the only food group along with vegetables which brings vitamin C to the diet (if we exclude enriched processed foods). Fortunately, the wide variety of fruits that we have today allow us to include them in our daily diet according to our tastes, building power and increasing the tolerance to any of them.
Allergens and prevalence of fruit allergy
Like many other foods, fruits have components that can trigger allergies in people who are sensitive to these elements. The immune system is responsible for defending our organism from external aggressions; Sometimes, there are external compounds that are not dangerous, but our body interprets them as the reason of triggering an allergic reaction.
Allergens present in fruits are proteins with different functions that the immune system interprets as a harmful component. The fruits that commonly cause the most allergies are: tomato, banana, avocado, apple, cherry, pepper, kiwi, grape, apricot, pear, fig, melon, peach and papaya.
Symptoms and diagnosis of fruit allergy
It is important to consider that the same allergen can produce reactions of different degrees, hence the symptomatology of fruit allergy does not always have to be the same. Previous reactions can be slight, that is why, it is advisable not to trust. In the same way, there are people who with low amounts of allergen have symptoms of fruit allergy quickly, and others who need a higher dose of allergen.
In general, allergic reactions caused by fruits appear quickly and are known as Oral allergy syndrome with itchy mouth and throat. For the diagnosis of fruit allergy, the allergist will perform a complete medical history, a physical examination and a dietary survey to know the time elapsed between food intake and the appearance of the symptomatology. Other tests that are usually performed as skin test, exposing the allergen to skin contact and blood test.
Allergic cross reactions to fruit
The same allergen can be found in different foods, giving rise to what is known as cross-reactions between foods. However, this does not mean that an allergic person will react just like all of them. Cross-reactions occur because fruits share proteins with allergenic potential, known as ‘panalergens’, which are widely spread in the plant world. These are proteins with very important functions, hence they are present in fruits of the same family or even in those that are not related to each other.
Many people who are allergic to pollen may have syndrome when eating certain fresh fruits and vegetables, since the fruit proteins look like those that cause allergy to pollen. Thus, the immune system interprets that fruit protein is actually the allergen of the pollen. Foods that can trigger a cross reaction with pollen are:
- Cross reactions with birch pollen: peach, apple, apricot, cherry and hazelnut. As for the vegetables, parsley, cilantro, celery, fennel and carrot are the ones that are related to this type of cross reactions with birch.
- Cross-reactions with grass pollen (wheat, oats, rye, rice): tomato.
- Cross reactions with sagebrush pollen (sage, tarragon): celery.
- Cross reactions with banana pollen (shade banana): apple, banana, corn, chickpea, celery, peanut and hazelnut.
- Cross reactions with ragweed pollen: melon and banana.
Latex fruit syndrome
Some people with allergy to latex develop allergic symptoms to some exotic fruits and vegetables. This is because some antigens of the latex are present in different foods of plant origin, being the fruit the most relevant group. The avocado, kiwi, cherry, banana, walnut, chestnut, strawberry, fig and melon are the ones that are related to this syndrome.
Treatment and prevention of fruit allerg
The treatment of symptoms of allergy to fruit should always be prescribed by the allergist. Food allergies are rarely cured. So, a part of treating the symptoms with drugs should exclude the food or foods that cause the problem. In the case of allergy to fruit, it is essential to avoid consumption.
The introduction of exotic fruits, as well as red fruits at an early age in children can trigger the appearance of allergies, so it is important to know what ingredients of foods.
Tips for allergic to fruit
- Carefully read food labels: some of them can carry fruit in the form of an ingredient or flavor (yogurts, cakes, ice cream and sorbets, pastries, jams, cereals, chocolate and chocolates, jellies and so on)
- If you are allergic to pollen, you should be aware of possible cross reactions. Vaccination against allergy to pollen can improve that of related fruits.
- If you are allergic to avocado, banana or kiwi, you should monitor the occurrence of reactions to contact with the latex.
- Carry a allergic card that indicates that you are allergic to some food and fruit
- Since some fruit allergens are found on the skin, it is advisable to take it peeled