Nut allergy is a term generally used to include allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. Nut allergy is said to be the most common form among food allergies, especially in children. Nut allergy can cause severe reactions in sensitive individuals. It is a result of a strong reaction to the proteins found in nuts. Although nuts are strong allergens, not every reaction is life-threatening.
Nuts can be of many kinds and often can go unnoticed in many products, such as ice cream, certain breads, granola bars, cereals, cookies, frozen meals, sauces, baked goods, candy and many more.
Nut allergy sufferers should know that cross-contamination of food is a very real possibility in restaurants and bakeries. Some cases of allergy are life-threatening and the issue should not be treated lightly. Whenever there is any doubt in the composition of food, the allergy sufferer should ask questions as to whether the food contained any form of nuts. If the doubt remains, eating the item in question is not worth the risk.
Tree Nut Allergy
Tree nut allergy, as the name suggests is a reaction which occurs after eating tree nuts. Tree nut allergy is one of the most common types of food allergy, affecting millions of people worldwide. The symptoms may occur within minutes but occasionally after 2 hours or more following the ingestion. The allergy symptoms are due to IgE (allergy) antibodies produced by the sufferers body against nut proteins.
Tree nut allergy sufferers are advised to be cautious about what they eat. Allergic reactions to nuts are among the leading causes of serious food reactions. Knowing what is a tree nut and what isn’t can help guide those with tree nut allergy in making safe food choices.
Tree nut allergy is usually noticed in early childhood. It is estimated that a little over 1% of the U.S. population reports an allergy to tree nuts. Even though, peanuts come under the category of legumes and not nuts, allergic reactions to both tree nuts and peanuts are almost the same.
Peanuts (groundnuts) are considered a legume, but are commonly grouped with nut allergies because of similar proteins. In one study of Australian children suffering from nut allergy, allergy to peanut was the most common (83%), followed by cashew (13%) and other tree nuts (4%) (almond and pecan, hazelnut and walnut). Nut allergy commonly presents around 2-4 years of age and some kids are able to outgrow the problem. Allergic reactions to tree nuts often occur the first time the child is known to be exposed to the nut.
How to Manage Tree nut Allergy And Peanut Allergy
Anyone with a tree nut allergy or peanut allergy should avoid all foods that could possibly contain nuts. However, this is a difficult task since, as mentioned above, nuts are put into many foods, including granola bars, cereals, cookies, frozen meals, sauces, baked goods, candy and many more. They are sometimes hidden in foods that do not taste like nuts. They could even be in chili or ground up and added to pastas or donuts so that they don’t even look like nuts. Bakeries often ground nuts and add cinnamon, butter and flour to make a crumble that they put on rolls or coffee cakes. Unless someone reads the label, they may not know that nuts are hidden in the product they are about to eat.