pollen allergies and food sensitivities

I read an interesting article recently which showed research linking certain pollen allergies to food sensitivities.

Up to 70% of people with pollen allergies experience unpleasant reactions to certain foods. This is called ‘Oral Allergy Syndrome” (OAS).  Some common reactions include:

* itchy or swollen lips

* tingling at the back of throat

* scratchiness on roof of mouth

* watery or itchy eyes

Most of these symptoms are not serious; but, can be annoying. The theory of OAS  is that the problem is not the food, but the pollen. When certain foods are eaten in the spring and fall during high pollen count, the body’s immune system mistakes the food pollen as the plant pollen and there is a cross-reaction. There are specific foods to avoid if you have ‘grass’ allergies: oranges, tomatoes, melons and figs

If you are allergic to weeds, especially ragweed, avoid: banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, melons, zucchini,artichoke and teas of echinacea, chamomile and hibiscus.

Usually, symptoms will occur immediately after eating the offending foods. Another way to avoid OAS is to eliminate artificial additive, artificial sweeteners, and pesticides. It is also helpful to boost your immune system.  The weaker the immune system, the more likely your body will have a cross-reaction.  Drink plenty of water, get daily exercise and at least seven hours of sleep nightly.  During the peak allergy season, eat your offending fruits and vegetables cooked rather than raw.

If you are unsure of which foods trigger this cross-reaction, keep a food journal.

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