It may be surprising to many to learn that a percentage of us suffer from allergies to vegetables. The general consensus is that vegetables are good for us and for the most part they are; however there are those among us who have allergic reactions to different kinds of vegetables and the variety of different chemicals ‐ naturally evident chemicals ‐ that they contain.
Oral Allergy Syndrome
In nature there are a great many defenders in the battle against diseases and pests which attack the crops of vegetables and fruits that are grown worldwide. However when it comes to using chemicals to combat these diseases and pests there is one particular natural force that takes some beating. This is pollen and as it is blown through the air or carried by insects and flies from one place to another it can be deposited on fruit and vegetables.
Those who suffer mostly from Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) are hay fever sufferers. The pollen manages to manipulate its way into the protein of the vegetables and thus is passed to the individual orally even after washing. If the vegetable is eaten raw then the sufferer can experience a swelling of the tongue and irritation to the lips, the mouth and the throat.
The reaction normally does not make it any further than these areas and can cause discomfort for a period of time but the effects are not permanent and once they have cleared up they tend not to reappear unless these areas of the mouth and throat and reintroduced to the same contamination.
For this reason cooking vegetables if you are a hay fever sufferer is always recommended.
Many people who enjoy vegetables enjoy potatoes but subsequently experience the effects of an allergy to starch which ‐ for many ‐ they are unaware they suffer from. This allergic reaction can manifest itself as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and can cause the sufferer to suffer from severe bouts of cramping, diarrhoea or constipation. Again starch is not simply found in potatoes but in foods manufactured using potatoes such as crisps, chips (frozen or otherwise) and many different dishes where potatoes are used in the preparation.
Hives ‐ or Uritcaria ‐ display themselves are red sores on the skin which are irritable and demand that the sufferer scratch them until they gain some relief. Of course it is unusual for the sufferer to gain any relief from this practice and the act of scratching seeks only to inflame the problem further.
There are many different causes of this condition but when it comes to vegetables ‐ tomatoes are often a common culprit. This is the result of an enzyme released by the tomato upon ingestion and the resulting outbreak of hives can cause the appearance of large red welts on the arms, legs, face and upper torso of the sufferer. A treatment using hydrocortisone cream is advised as well as avoiding hot showers or baths during the outbreak. In addition in some rare instances the application of a steroid cream or steroid injection can aid in the resolution of the problem especially when ‐ in some rare instances ‐ the condition attacks the inside of the sufferer’s throat.
If you or a loved one suffers from an allergy and there is no definite cause established then it is wise to consult your doctor who will perform a series of allergy tests to try and confirm the identify of that which is causing the problem.
It is also worth making a note of your daily food intake and keeping a log of all meals ‐ including fruit and vegetables consumed ‐ in order to aid your GP’s diagnosis.