You’ve just cut that tasty, crispy apple into sections. You take a big bite, chew, and enjoy the sweet-tart crunchy fruit. But a minute or two later, your throat starts to tingle and itch. What’s happening?
Oral Allergy Syndrome
Food pollen or oral allergy syndrome might occur if you ate food and didn’t know you were allergic. This allergy syndrome remains one of the most common of all food allergies experienced by adults. This syndrome works like a contact allergy to vegetables and fruits. You’re very likely to have these food allergies to fresh fruit and vegetables if you suffer from hay fever.
Symptoms of this type of food allergy include:
• Your throat feels itchy.
• You feel a tingling in your throat or mouth.
• Your tongue feels swollen or full.
• The back of your throat or lips feels like they’re swelling.
People who have a reaction to pollen coming from such plants as birch, grass, and ragweed might also have problems with some foods during the spring and summer.
Triggers for Seasonal Allergies to Food
A few triggering plants can pollinate and cause your allergies to fruit and vegetables to get triggered. Some of the most likely offenders for pollen-related allergy triggers to produce products include the following plants.
This pollen from the birch tree spreads during March and April in Atlanta. The produce items that birch pollen triggers include:
• Fruit with pits such as apples, peaches, pears, and plums.
• Vegetables such as carrots and celery.
• Nuts like almonds and hazelnuts.
Grass pollen tends to occur from May to July. Produce products that this pollen effect includes:
• Melons of many kinds.
Ragweed tends to pollinate from the middle of August until mid-September in Atlanta. When ragweed pollinates, it might cause food allergy symptoms when you eat:
• Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelons.
Why Does Plant and Tree Pollen Affect Allergies to Fruit and Vegetables?
You’ll know whether pollen stirs up your allergies to certain produce items almost immediately during certain pollen seasons. So you might get to eat melon in the winter, but have to avoid it when grass pollinates.
These reactions occur due to the proteins in the uncooked fruit or vegetables. Your body gets confused between the pollen forming allergen and the similar protein in your uncooked veggies or fruit. The confusion occurs quite quickly, and irritation in your mouth or throat remains mild. The annoying feelings caused by the reaction quickly dissipate because the acid in your stomach quickly breaks down the protein.
People who have hay fever can continue to eat small amounts of the offending fruit or vegetables if the reaction remains mild. But some individuals have more severe and annoying reactions while the offending pollen remains in season.
You can only get oral allergy syndrome when you’re allergic to pollen. You can only get these reactions from plant foods. Plus, reactions occur when you eat uncooked plant foods in the wrong seasons. Once you heat the fruit in question, the offending protein gets destroyed.
To eat your favorite fruit or vegetable in the pollen season, zap it in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Or wait to enjoy it until after the offending pollen is gone.