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Raw Foods Linked to Pollen Allergy, Grass, Mugwort and Ragweed!

This article will give you an overview of some of the foods that have been found to cross react with a pollen allergy, grass allergy, mugwort allergy and ragweed allergy, as well as some basic facts about each allergen type. To learn more about the oral allergy syndrome (OAS) that is associated with seasonal allergies symptoms, read this article.

In most cases, people with grass, mugwort, ragweed and tree pollen allergy develop oral allergies only to a few of the foods included in the offenders list. Note that the oral allergy syndrome may occur throughout the year, and not only during high outdoor allergy season. To maintain a healthy balanced diet, it is important to first identify which foods trigger oral allergy reactions in your particular case, and then to continue eating the remaining foods on the list that do not seem to cause adverse reactions.

Grass pollen allergies peak during June and July summer months. Timothy and Orchard grass are the most commonly allergenic, however Bermuda grass, Johnson grass,  Kentucky bluegrass and Sweet Vernal grass species are also known to cause allergies.

Fact: seasonal allergies symptoms of itchy and watery eyes are more common for those suffering from grass allergies than ragweed allergy sufferers.

Mugwort pollen is known to cause allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma symptoms in many individuals. The cross-reactivity between food allergens and mugwort pollen is more extensive than that of grass pollen. However, these adverse reactions are most common in Europe and the western United States, not so much in Canada. The mugwort pollen allergy season runs from end of June to early September. You may notice your symptoms get worse after eating foods containing proteins that resemble those in mugwort:

Vegetables:

  • broccoli
  • carrot (raw, unpeeled)
  • celery
  • pepper

Fruits:

  • apple (raw)
  • melon
  • peache (unpeeled) 

Nuts & Seeds:

  • chestnuts
  • hazelnuts
  • peanuts
  • sunflower seeds

Herbs & Spices:

  • aniseed
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • fennel seeds
  • parsley
  • rosemary
  • sage

People suffering from a tree pollen allergy typically develop hay fever symptoms in spring months of April and May. Allergenic tree types include ash, alder, birch, box-elder, cedar, elm, male pollen producing maple and mulberry, oak and walnut. Birch pollen allergy is the biggest culprit of all tree seasonal allergies and is prevalent mainly in BC, Southern Ontario and Atlantic Provinces. Those with aggravating birch pollen allergy symptoms may experience itching, burning, and swelling of the mouth and lips when consuming certain trigger foods. Below is the list of foods to avoid or limit with a birch pollen allergy:

Vegetables:

  • carrot (especially raw)
  • celery (also cooked)
  • chicory
  • fennel
  • green pepper
  • parsnip
  • potato (raw)
  • tomato (especially raw

Fruits & Berries:

  • apple
  • apricot
  • avocado
  • banana
  • cherry
  • fig
  • kiwi
  • nectarine
  • pear
  • peach (& peach peel)
  • plum
  • prune
  • strawberry

Legumes, Nuts, Seeds & Grains:

  • almonds
  • buckwheat
  • hazelnuts
  • lentil
  • peanuts
  • pea
  • soybean
  • sunflower seeds
  • walnuts
  • wheat

Herbs & Spices:

  • aniseed
  • caraway
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • dill
  • parsley

People with a ragweed allergy suffer from their seasonal allergy symptoms from late August to October. Ragweed produces more pollen and grows faster and larger in urban conditions because of the slightly warmer micro-climate in those areas. Ragweed allergy is prevalent primarily in Southern Ontario and Western Quebec regions. There is very little ragweed in the Atlantic provinces and the Prairie. The cross-reactivity is largely related to the fruits in the melon family. However, drinking chamomile or even echinacea tea or eating sunflower seeds might also provoke an allergic response, as these are also part of the same botanical family.

Those with a ragweed pollen allergy might get an adverse cross-reaction when eating the following foods:

  • banana
  • cantaloupe
  • cucumber
  • honeydew
  • watermelon
  • white potato
  • zucchini (raw)

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