Oral Allergy Syndrome and Which Foods to Avoid

Are spring fruits and vegetable making your mouth itchy? You may have oral allergy syndrome (OAS).

Oral allergy syndrome (OAS), also referred to as “food-pollen allergy syndrome” and “fruit-pollen syndrome”, is an allergic reaction caused by certain fresh fruits, raw vegetables, seeds or nuts that are consumed, typically during spring and early fall.

More prevalent among older children and adults, this syndrome afflicts up to 10 percent of individuals with hay fever.

When certain fresh fruits, raw vegetables, seeds or nuts are consumed, typically during spring and early fall  – the body’s immune system recognizes and essentially mistakes a plant protein in the food for pollen, and this irritant triggers what allergy specialists call a cross-reaction.

Symptoms of Oral Allergy Syndrome

For people who experience what’s called “oral allergy syndrome” (OAS), the following symptoms may occur after eating the offending food:

  • itchy or swollen lips;
  • tingling at the back of the throat;
  • scratchiness on the roof of the mouth;
  • watery or itchy eyes.
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Which Foods to Avoid for OAS

Your OAS depends on what tree or weed allergy you have. If you eat something that triggers allergies, you’ll notice symptoms almost immediately. Most allergists would agree that OAS symptoms appear no more than half an hour after eating.

For those allergic to grass pollens, you’ll want to avoid:

  • oranges
  • tomatoes
  • melons
  • figs

As noted above, foods that cause a pollen-like allergic reaction are usually fresh or raw. If you love oranges but notice they cause a reaction, orange juice, although it’s not as nutritiously-dense as an orange, might not cause the reaction. Same thing with tomatoes: Freshly picked ones from the vine might cause an itchy throat, but tomato paste might not trigger a negative reaction.

If you’re allergic to weed pollens, specifically ragweed, the following foods may trigger OAS:

  • banana
  • cantaloupe
  • cucumber
  • melons
  • zucchini
  • artichoke
  • teas of Echinacea, chamomile and hibiscus

Some other foods that trigger OAS in more than one type of allergy include:

  • apples
  • almonds
  • celery
  • strawberry
  • cherries

Remedies for OAS

Boost your immune system. The weaker your immunity, the more likely your body will experience a cross reaction. Drink plenty of water, exercise daily, get at least 7 hours of sleep a night and supplement with anti-oxidants (under the care of a doctor or nutritionist).

If you use anti-allergy medicine, try to choose natural anti-inflammatory and natural anti-histamine nutritional supplements.

During allergy seasons, consume more cooked vegetables and try to eliminate the offending raw fruits. Use a food journal to determine which foods are triggering allergic reactions.