avocado allergy

Are you allergic to Avocados? – Tips and tricks to fight Avocado allergy!

Know more on how to battle avocado allergy in your wonderful journey with easy tips and tricks.

Are you an avocado person? A perfectly ripe avocado with a little salt, an olive oil drizzle, and a spoon of mixed herbs makes it perfect! But what if you have an avocado allergy? 

Did you know that in the United Kingdom, around 2 million people have a food allergy, and these are just the people who have been diagnosed! The actual number is likely a lot higher. Some foods are associated with allergies. The most common food allergies are peanuts, shellfish, milk, eggs and wheat. There are some sneaky ones you might not expect or see coming, like an avocado allergy. The unusual allergies are hard to identify because we eat so many things and it becomes harder to pinpoint a specific food allergen.  

Types of avocado allergies 

Avocado allergy can be of two types: 

  • Oral allergy: You can be allergic to avocados if you are allergic to birch pollen. Fruits and vegetables that grow near pollen can cause allergic reactions in those people with pollen sensitivity.  
  • Latex – avocado allergy: People with a latex allergy are allergic to many fruits including avocado, chestnuts, kiwis, bananas, and melons. This condition is known as the Latex- fruit syndrome.  

What happens during Allergic reactions  

When a harmless substance such as dust, mold, pollen or any food substance for e.g., avocados, is encountered by a person who is allergic to that substance, the immune system may over react by producing antibodies that “attack” the allergen. This can cause wheezing, itching, runny nose, watery / itchy eyes and other symptoms.   

Avocado allergy symptoms 

  • Oral allergy to avocado  
  • Itchy mouth  
  • Scratchy throat  
  • Swelling in and around the mouth and throat 
  • Latex- avocado allergy  
  • Swelling of the lips  
  • Sneezing  
  • Itchy eyes  
  • Stomach discomfort  
  • Hives  
  • Anaphylactic response  

Avocado allergy diagnosis  

Avocado allergy can be diagnosed by traditional allergy tests like a skin prick test or by performing a food challenge.  

  • A skin prick test determines whether an allergic reaction will occur by inserting possible triggers into your skin using a needle prick. If you are allergic to the substance, your body’s reactions to the allergen can be sensed.  
  • Food challenge. A doctor will give you small amounts of avocado to see if it evokes severe allergic reactions.  

Avocado allergy Treatment  

  • For Mild allergic reactions  
  • Oral allergy symptoms – Over the counter antihistamine medications can treat them. 
  • Skin related symptoms – Cortisone cream will help. 
  • Severe anaphylactic reactions/ allergic reactions – Avocados rarely cause life threatening reactions, but if you do experience severe symptoms after eating avocado you should have an Epinephrine auto injector / epinephrine to treat the symptoms  
  • Immunotherapy can also be considered as an option where patients are injected with small amounts of an allergen on a regular basis and gradually doses are increased causing the patient’s immune system to become less and less sensitive to the allergen.  
  • Immunotherapy is recommended for patients with significant allergy symptoms that last at least 6 weeks out of each year. 
  •  It is not recommended for patients with mild allergy.  

Tips to lookout for with Avocado allergy  

Living with food allergies becomes a great responsibility for the person with the allergy and the people around them. So, it is very important to take precautionary measures to lead a hassle-free life.  

  • Firstly, avoid the super food. We know it’s difficult without guacamole and garlic avocado spreads, but it’s better to avoid the trigger food.  
  • Label your foods as “safe” and “not safe”– for yourself. 
  • Do not store “safe” foods with the rest of the family foods. Place your “safe” foods separately. 
  • Take precautionary measures during the cooking or serving process. 
  • If you are preparing safe and unsafe food for the same meal, make the safe meal first.  
  • Do not use the same utensils to prepare allergenic and non-allergenic dishes. 
  • Read food labels carefully as avocados can be hidden in some recipes such as vegan and paleo ones. Lookout for words like avocado butter, avocado leaf, avocado oil and avocado honey.  
  • Avocados can be substituted for butter so ask for the ingredient list if you’re dining out. 
  • Avoid cross contamination. 
  • Make sure you teach everyone to wash their hands with soap and water before touching “safe” food.  
  • Do not allow allergen covered utensils to touch your “safe” foods. 
  • Make sure you clean the countertops and surfaces after preparing the food.  

Healthy Alternatives for Avocado  

Avocados are well known for their rich taste and creamy texture, here are some alternatives that offer a similar profile.  

  • For the healthy fat  
  • Avocados are excellent sources of monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and support healthy cholesterol levels. Substitute avocado with olive oil to avail MUFA at its best. 
  • For the texture  
  • Avocados are well known for their rich taste and creamy texture. Substitute avocado with these to get a similar mouthfeel  
  • Pumpkin or butternut squash puree  
  • Mashed banana 
  • Nut or seed butter  
  • Hummus  
  • Greek yogurt  
  • Cashew cream  
  • Silken tofu 
  • Soaked pistachios  
  • Soaked pinto beans  
  • Instead of guacamole try edamame dip with garlic, cilantro, lime juice and olive oil along with diced tomatoes.  

These culinary swaps won’t offer the exact same taste and nutrition as avocados but that’s ok to deal with the avocado allergy, right? They serve as functional swaps and offer up some of the same nutrients along with some new ones.   

But at the end, it’s all about the variety, isn’t it?  

Common queries about Avocado allergy   

  • Can you eat avocado if you have a nut allergy? 

Avocado is classified as a fruit and not a tree nut. You can consume avocados even if you have a nut allergy. However, some studies have shown that avocados have similar proteins to chestnuts. So, if you are allergic to chestnuts then you may have to avoid avocados.  

  •  Am I facing avocado allergy or avocado intolerance? 

If you are experiencing IgE mediated antibody responses like sneezing, wheezing, itching, urticaria and hives, it is classified as an allergy. If you are experiencing any digestive issues like diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration its likely an intolerance.  

So, know your symptoms before diagnosing yourself.  

  •  Can washing avocados prevent an allergic reaction? 

Often times allergens like pesticides and insecticides are just on the outer layer of a fruit/vegetable. Washing them off thoroughly may help prevent an allergic reaction, but a word of caution if you’re allergic to the protein in avocado then washing might not help.  

  •  Is avocado allergy curable? 

It is possible to become less sensitive to avocado over time. In patients undergoing immunotherapy treatment, pollen related allergies can become less severe.  

There is a saying, “You would need to eat two to three bananas to meet the potassium content in just one avocado”- Dr. Josh.  

As you can see avocado is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. Richest in fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium among all fruits. This nutrition profile makes it a worthy superfood. But immune reactions in certain people like avocado allergy seen in limited population lead to restricted consumption in that group of people.  

Its indeed guacward to have an avocado allergy isn’t it?  But don’t worry about it, you can use other alternatives and substitutes for avocado and still Guac the world. 

Avo nice day! 

Written by Aishwarya Deepika, ENHAPP Wellness Coach & Nutritionist 

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