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Allergies Health Center

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Foods That May Trigger Pollen Allergies

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Talk to your doctor if your symptoms don’t go away.  It’s always best to ask your doctor or allergist. Skin tests and food challenges can help you find out how serious your allergy is.

Foods to Watch Out For

So you have seasonal allergies and want to know what other foods, known as trigger foods, may cause your allergies to worsen.

If you have a birch allergy, the list of potential triggers for oral allergy syndrome includes:

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Carrots
  • Coriander
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Fennel
  • Hazelnuts
  • Kiwi
  • Nectarines 
  • Parsnips
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Plums 

Birch is probably the biggest cause of cross-reactions, Eitches says. Kiwi, celery, nectarines, apricots, and apples are the most common trigger foods.

If you have a ragweed allergy, you may have to avoid:

  • Bananas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Chamomile tea 
  • Cucumber
  • Honeydew
  • Watermelon
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Zucchini

If grass is your allergy, these might cause a reaction:

  • Celery
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

If mugwort is troublesome for you, then any of these may cause you problems:

  • Apples
  • Bell peppers
  • Black pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Caraway
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Kiwi
  • Parsley
  • Peanut
  • Sunflower

Latex allergies mean the following foods could cause a reaction:

  • Avocadoes
  • Bananas
  • Chestnuts
  • Kiwi
  • Papaya

Eating any of the trigger foods should cause a similar reaction every time, says Mary Tobin, MD, associate chair for clinical programs at Rush University Medical Center.

But it could be worse if you eat the food during the height of pollen season, she adds. Not all foods associated with one of the pollens will trigger a reaction.

You may only have problems with one or two foods, Tobin says. Bananas and cantaloupe could set you off, but eggplant and squash might not bother you.

Only foods that come from plants can cause oral allergy syndrome. If nuts are your problem, you may have a more serious food allergy. Talk to your doctor.

Do I Have to Cut Out Those Yummy Foods?

The surest way to avoid oral allergy syndrome is to steer clear of trigger foods. Still, there are ways to eat your favorite fruits and vegetables and keep your risk to a minimum.

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