While you're likely familiar with peanut and dairy allergies, some of your favorite foods and drinks — like avocados and coffee — can also trigger an allergic reaction. Foods you didn't know you could be allergic to include things you enjoy on the regular, and they might be the reason you feel blah even though you're making objectively healthy choices. What's more, there's another plot twist in the saga of these types of allergic reactions. The food itself may not be the actual culprit. For example, many people are allergic to histamine, which occurs naturally in many of your beloved go-to foods, like avocados.
You can also react to certain foods if you have oral allergy syndrome, which is a reaction to pollen that is present in certain foods. According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, symptoms may present in the form of mouth itchiness, a tightness in your throat, or even the sensation of your throat closing up. According to the authors, symptoms are usually "short-lived and benign," but can occasionally produce more serious symptoms when combined with other reactions.
"It happens because your immune system can’t tell the difference between proteins in these foods and pollen. The symptoms are usually itching, tingling, and swelling, mostly to the mouth, lips, and throat," explains WEBMD. Ugh, if you're allergic to both histamine and pollen it might seem like the only thing left to do is commit to a diet of bread and water, unless of course you're allergic to gluten. Or water. Yes, an allergy to water is a real thing. If this is news to you, here are some other foods you didn't know you could be allergic to.
While it's incredibly rare, an allergy to water — known as aquagenic urticari — is real. "The condition appears to be more common in women, and is likely to develop during puberty, with a genetic disposition being the most likely cause. Its rarity means it's often misdiagnosed as an allergy to chemicals in water, such as chlorine or salt," Kylie Sturgess wrote for Science Alert.
"Inflammation can last for an hour or longer and can lead to patients developing a phobia of bathing in water. Severe cases can result in anaphylactic shock." Symptoms include severe skin itching after being exposed to water and swelling of the throat after drinking water. Those who have this allergy must alter their bathing routine and adhere to a strict diet to ensure they don't get dehydrated.
2. Apples, Carrots, Peaches, Plums, Cherries & Pears
If you haven't been feeling well, and fresh fruits like apples, carrots, peaches, plums, cherries, and pears are part of your daily diet, it's worth giving them a break to see if your problems are related to oral allergy syndrome. OAS is trigged by pollen present in certain fruits, and it can cause symptoms such as itching, tingling, and swelling in the mouth, according to the previously mentioned study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Most people who experience these allergy symptoms after consuming the aforementioned fruits usually also have an allergy to birch.
3. Melons, Zucchini, Kiwi & Bananas
Similar to the fruits related to a birch allergy, melons, zucchini, kiwi, and bananas can also cause OAS if you're allergic to ragweed. Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RDN, LD consultant for National Peanut Board, told the Food Network that OAS is triggered by environmental allergies and a cross reaction to pollen.
If you're allergic to grass, your mouth might begin to itch after you eat tomatoes. When eating tomatoes, or any of the foods that trigger OAS, WebMD reported that the symptoms are usually short lived and generally not serious. You might notice your mouth begin to itch right after eating the foods in question, but in some people it can take up to an hour for the symptoms to appear. While certainly unpleasant, OAS is usually not life threatening. However, it's a good idea to keep a food journal if you want to avoid the mouth itchies.
This one might be the worst because avocados are one of the best things in life. However, if you have seasonal allergies, the naturally occurring histamine in avocados can trigger an allergic reaction, Registered Dietician Tamara Duker Freuman wrote for U.S. News & World Report. If your beloved avocados don't seem to agree with you, and you experience gastrointestinal symptoms after eating them, it's worth trying an elimination diet to see if you feel better living an avocado-free life. I know. I'm crying too.
Unfortunately, it just gets worse. If you have a coffee allergy (the horror!) your body treats your trusty wake-up juice as a pathogen and tries its best to destroy it. "An allergic reaction caused by food, such as coffee beans, is actually due to an immune system response," Dr. Stacy Sampson wrote for Medical News Today. "The immune system recognizes compounds in the cells of coffee as invaders." Since there's no way to explain to coffee that it's an ally instead of an enemy, those with coffee allergies usually have to endure a difficult break up with their java BAE.
7. Turkey & Chicken
There are two ways you can be allergic to poultry, according to a study published in Allergo Journal International. The first is called poultry meat allergy and the second is known as bird-egg syndrome. While the first allergy is a reaction to the meat itself, bird-egg syndrome is caused by a serum present in the muscle tissue and egg yolks of birds, which means you'll need to avoid eggs as well as all poultry. Hello vegan turkey-loaf thingy. Let's get to know each other better, shall we?
8. Red Meat
While you might be aware of red meat allergies, the Journal of the American Medical Association noted earlier this year that this allergy could be triggered by the lone star tick. If you've been bitten by a tick recently, and you start to develop symptoms like hives, congestion, gastrointestinal distress, dizziness, or headaches after eating red meat, you might have a red-meat allergy as a result of the tick bite.
The Difference Between A Food Allergy & Intolerance
Overall, it's also important to know the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. "A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body. It can cause a range of symptoms," Dr. James T C Li explained for the Mayo Clinic. "In some cases, an allergic food reaction can be severe or life-threatening. In contrast, food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems."
If you're simply intolerant to your favorite foods, eating them likely won't have dire consequences, but it might leave you feeling pretty unpleasant. Fortunately, there are things you can do to mitigate a food intolerance like taking an antacid before eating certain foods. If you think you have an actual allergy, it's important to visit your doctor so you can make sure you know which foods to avoid and get educated about emergency protocols in the event you accidentally ingest something you're allergic to.
It also makes eating out much more difficult. But, if you're looking for a silver lining, eating all of your meals at home will probably save you money. #TheMoreYouKnow