How a nut allergy can drive you nuts!

Nut allergies are one of the most common known allergies. Around one in fifty children suffer from a nut allergy, however, studies show that an increase in sufferers is on the incline as years progress. It is shown that the UK is one of the highest sufferers of allergy rates across the globe with around 20% of the population struggling with one or more allergies.

Having a nut allergy can be severely debilitating for those who suffer. From mild to severe reactions there are many issues people battle with on a daily basis. Allergies are more than a physical reaction to a specific ingredient, as for many sufferers there are stresses and anxiety surrounding their allergy as well.

What is a nut allergy?

A nut allergy is an intolerance to nuts. Some people may have specific allergies to either peanuts, almonds, tree nuts etc. Whereas others may suffer with a more general reaction to all types of nuts.

The various nuts someone can be allergic to are as follows:

  • Almonds

  • Brazil nuts

  • Cashews

  • Chestnuts

  • Filberts

  • Hazelnuts

  • Hickory nuts

  • Macadamia nuts

  • Pecans

  • Pistachios

  • Walnuts

An allergic reaction to any type of allergen is your body's defence against proteins that are found in a food or product. Your body views this protein as a threat and therefore creates an antibody to remove the protein. However, since the protein (in this case nuts) are not the issue you find yourself with various reactions to the antibody your immune system has created.

What are the symptoms of a nut allergy?

When your body has created the various antibodies to help rid your system of the proteins found in nuts you may find that you have various symptoms. Many symptoms are mild in severity, however, your reactions can vary depending on how sensitive to nuts you are.

Symptoms of a nut allergy can include but are not limited to:

  • Swelling in the tongue or throat

  • Hive, itching or rash forming on the skin

  • Difficulty breathing

What foods contain nuts?

There are many foods which contain nuts;

  • Various baked goods such cookies and pastries

  • Chocolate, various nougat and marzipan

  • Cereals and granola

  • Chili or soups - nut butters may be added for thickness

  • Veggie burgers and other vegetarian/vegan foods may use nuts for their source of protein

When looking out for which foods contain nuts, please read the packaging carefully. All of the 14 major allergens must be highlighted on any and all food ingredient lists to ensure clarity. Depending on the severity of your allergy and if you are allergic to one type of nut or multiple you may be able to consume small amounts of specific foods.

How do I know if I have a nut allergy?

If you find yourself having similar reactions to the ones listed above after consuming nuts you may have an allergy. If you are concerned about any reactions you have to any foods or products it is important to contact your GP to ensure you are tested and provided accurate medical information and treatment for your conditions.

Allergen checker provides businesses with a simple and effective solution. Enabling staff and customers to see effectively and clearly any potential allergens in foods listed on menus. If you have any questions about our service please contact us now.

The information provided in this blog is purely informational. Please speak to your GP for further information on any concerns you have regarding allergies. Sources for information are: