What Kinds of Tree Nut Allergies Are There?
Tree nuts are popular foods that have lots of health benefits. Unfortunately, these foods come with a high risk of allergies. About 1 in 20 Americans have an allergic reaction after eating tree nuts. Although there are many different types of tree nuts, and all of them have high cross-reactivity, it does not mean that if you have an allergy to one tree nut, you will also get it to others. Peanuts are actually a legume, not a true nut, but still up to 50% of people who have peanut allergy also have it to one or more tree nuts.
Tree nut allergies have similar symptoms to other food allergies, but they tend to be more severe. If you have an allergic reaction after eating a tree nut, you may need to use injectable antihistamines and epinephrine. Only a small percentage of children can outgrow an allergy to tree nuts, and the chances of that are very small if it causes severe allergic reactions.
Tree Nuts That Cause Allergies Most Commonly
The following tree nuts cause allergies most often:
Walnuts, particularly English walnuts, are known for an ability to cause allergies. You may be allergic to walnut pollen, which causes symptoms of allergic rhinitis. If you have an allergy to walnuts, it does not mean that you will have it to other tree nuts. Walnut allergens have a similar structure to cashews, pecans, castor beans, cottonseed, mustard and
Brazil nuts, which means that if you have a walnut allergy, you should avoid eating those foods as well.
Cashews may also cause an allergy. Their oil can cause contact dermatitis, and it is similar to the oils found in poison oak and mangoes. Cashew allergens are similar to macadamia nuts, palm oil, soybeans, walnuts and peas. If you have an allergy to cashew or walnut, you may also have it to these foods.
Almonds are very popular in the USA, and they may also cause an allergy. They are often used when processing food and can be found in granola bars, breakfast cereals and baked goods. If you have an almond allergy, you may have it to other tree nuts, for instance, pistachios.
Pistachios may also cause an allergic reaction, and they are cross-reactive to mangoes and cashews. If the pollen from the Parietaria weed causes hay fever, you may have a pistachio allergy as well.
Tree Nuts That Cause Allergies Less Commonly
Allergies to hazelnut occur in Europe more often than in the USA. Hazelnut pollen may cause seasonal hay fever. If you have an allergy to hazelnut pollen, then you have a higher risk of having it to hazelnuts as well. These nuts are also related to birch pollen, so if you have an allergy to it, you may experience oral allergy symptoms like after eating hazelnuts. Hazelnuts have similar allergens to cashews, coconut, peanuts and soybeans, which means that you should avoid eating these foods if you have an allergy to hazelnuts.
Chestnuts have similar allergens to latex and avocado, and that is why you should avoid all of them if at least one causes an allergy. Also, if you have a chestnut allergy, you may also have it to apples, Mugwort pollen and peaches.
Pecans are often consumed in the southern US, but they are not that popular all over the world. About 1 in 10 people who have tree nut allergies will also have it to pecans. If you have an allergy to pecan, you may also have it to walnuts, because these nuts have similar allergens.
Tree Nuts That Cause Allergies Rarely
The following tree nuts cause allergies rarely:
• Pine nuts;
• Brazil nuts;
• Macadamia nuts;
Although pine nuts are often consumed in southern Europe, they are not that popular in other countries. You should avoid eating pine nuts if you have a pine pollen allergy.
Brazil nuts are not that popular in the USA, and this may be the reason why allergies to these nuts are rarely met. Since genetically modified soybeans have proteins similar to Brazil nut allergen, there may be more allergies to this nut in the future. Be careful with walnuts if you have an allergy to Brazil nuts.
Macadamia nuts are usually consumed in Hawaii and the tropics. These nuts have cross-reactivity with cashews, so you should avoid eating both if you have an allergy to one of them.
Coconut allergies are considered to be the rarest, but these nuts have similar allergens to walnuts and hazelnuts.