Did you know there are some pretty crazy and uncommon foods you could be allergic to and not even know it, yet suffer daily from? We all know that gluten, soy, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and wheat are problematic allergenic foods that many people avoid, but what about the ones we don’t hear much about? As someone who has a good bit of allergies, I’ve researched a lot about elimination diets, allergen specialty diets, and most all types of allergen websites I could find. I’ve read books, spoken with health professionals, and worked extensively with nutritionists regarding allergies as well. Read the top 7 foods that I found to be the most surprising allergenic foods of all the ones I learned. I think you’ll be pretty surprised to see many of these foods you could be allergic to, just as I was!
1. White Fish
Many people aren’t aware that fish can be one of the foods you could be allergic to, but it’s true! All white fish tends to be problematic for some people for a reason that has to do with certain antibodies produced when eaten. The immune system detects certain proteins and properties of white fish that it sees as an invader, and releases histamines that trigger the reaction. Researchers believe it has something to do with where the fish are sourced and the different makeup of proteins they contain compared to fattier fish like salmon. Flushing, itching, and rash are common symptoms of this allergy.
If you don’t tolerate peanuts, don’t turn to almond butter just yet! Most people tolerate almond butter well, but almonds are actually rich in allergenic properties that other nuts don’t contain that cause issues for certain individuals. In fact, one lady I know tested positive for almonds, and not even peanuts on an allergy test! She was also not allergic to any other tree nut, besides almonds. Almonds actually come from a fruit tree, which is why they may cause a problem. They spike a trigger in the immune system that releases histamines in the body, which can produce a rash, joint pain, or sneezing.
One of the best grains in the world is also one of the most uncommon, yet still popular, allergens of all grains. Even if you buy gluten free oats, the allergen has to do more with specific proteins oats have other than gluten, which the immune system sees as a threat. Each grain contains unique properties that make it special, which is why most people tolerate different grains, and some don’t tolerate any. Grains contain especially allergenic potential, and although oats are usually a safe grain to eat, for some they’ll cause joint pain, itching, break outs and rash.
Did you know that you might just be allergic to meat? I was shocked to hear this was an allergy, but it is even pretty common! Researchers believe that it has to do with what the animals are fed, and certain proteins they contain. For example, if you’re allergic to certain grasses, soy or corn, you’ve probably eaten a meat that contains at least one of these. If you don’t know you’re allergic to what the animal has been fed, it would be hard to detect this allergy to begin with, as you can see. Red meat has been found to be the most problematic due to certain amino acids and proteins it contains that inflame the immune system.
5. Certain Herbs
Certain herbs and flowers can be allergenic to many people with pollen allergies, or ragweed. For instance, the chamomile flower is part of the same family of trees that produce pollen, and even looks a lot like pollen. I seem to tolerate it fine, surprisingly, since I’m so allergic to pollen, but if you’re unsure, be especially aware while using any herbs that might irritate you. Basil is also problematic for many due to the type of flower on the plant. I tend to get a headache and itch profusely if I eat fresh basil, though dried seems to be fine.
Oh, I so hate to tell you this, but a chocolate allergen does actually exist. It all goes back to the plant, and cocoa beans do come from a plant, after all. Many people will wake up the next day with itchy eyes, feel really bad, or get a headache after eating chocolate. Researchers have even found that people who are the most allergenic are often the ones who crave it the most! Scary, right?
7. Citrus Fruits
Many people do not tolerate citrus fruits at all. Citrus fruits can cause problems for many people, which is why they are eliminated on an elimination diet in the beginning. They produce histamines in the body, because of the type of trees they come from that contain allergens that many people don’t tolerate well. Grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges and all other forms of citrus should be avoided. Symptoms include headache, runny nose, itchy skin, rashes, breakouts or other feelings that make you not feel well directly after consuming citrus, or within 12 hours of consuming it.
You’ll want to get an official allergen test to see what food you’re allergic to from an allergy specialist in your area to be sure. Do you have any strange food allergies, or know anyone that does?