Love nuts…but can’t eat ‘em! How to manage nut allergies

Not only are nuts little nutrition powerhouses, they’re also wonderfully versatile—good in savory or sweet dishes, as toppings, or as snacks for munching

Health Benefits of Nuts

Nuts are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, and fiber. They’ve also been identified as “cognitive boosters.” Studies have shown that long-term nut intake is believed to boost brainpower that increases memory retention.

In addition to improving the brain’s activity, nuts are also good for the heart. They contain unsaturated fatty acids, making them a factor in lowering bad cholesterol levels.

Nut Allergies

There is, however, a down side to nuts—at least for a small percentage of the population. As beneficial as nuts are for the general public, those suffering from food allergies may have opposite reactions. And the number of sufferers is increasing rapidly. Between 1997 and 2008, the number of kids with peanut allergies more than tripled!

When someone with a nut allergy eats nuts, skin inflammation such as hives, rashes, redness, and swelling of extremities could occur. The upper respiratory tract could be affected as well and sneezing, a runny nose or a sore throat may be experienced. Others experience digestive tract symptoms, resulting in nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The worst case scenario is anaphylaxis. This manifests in swelling of the throat that leads to difficulty breathing. Once anaphylaxis is triggered, the sufferer’s airways could swell and become obstructed. Anaphylaxis could also lead to shock or death.

Managing Nut Allergies

For minor allergic reactions to nuts, antihistamines like loratadine and diphenhydramine can be considered for basic relief. For more lasting relief, Family Allergy Clinic recommends sublingual immunotherapy, a pain-free drop administered orally. To learn more about allergy immunotherapy, contact Family Allergy Clinic.