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Are Walnuts an Allergen?

Iliana AngelovaIliana Angelova
Nadia Galinova
Translated by
Nadia Galinova
Are Walnuts an Allergen?

Food allergies are a condition when consuming certain foods, which is not among the most common, but causes unpleasant consequences and is therefore monitored by health authorities.

Allergic reactions occur as a result of ingesting foods containing allergens to which some people cannot adapt. What actually is the allergen?

Nature of allergens

The reaction of the body when consuming a certain food is due to the reception of an allergen. This is a substance that the body perceives as a threat and begins to produce a specific antibody substance - this is immunoglobulin E. Antibodies bind to special cells in the blood. These are the basophils and other soft tissues. They start releasing histamine, and it causes allergic reactions. The immune system, which has already become active, is the cause of the problems with the respiratory, nervous and cardiovascular systems, as well as the skin, which are well known.

The walnut as an allergen

Strong allergen is nuts, especially peanuts - allergy to peanuts. Among all nuts walnut cannot be defined as a weak allergen, although it is far from peanuts. However, walnuts can also cause life-threatening allergic reactions.

In terms of the incidence of walnut allergy things are looking better. According to British studies, only 0.4 percent of people exhibit allergic reactions to nut proteins. They are expressed in slight irritation and swelling of the mouth. More severe reactions are quite rare. However, people with a histamine allergy should refrain from consuming this nut because it is rich in histamine.

Walnut processing and action of the allergen in these cases

Walnut Allergies

Walnuts are consumed both in their natural state and processed - subjected to heat treatment, mostly roasted, also mixed with other nuts.

It should be known that the allergy is associated with substances in the composition of walnuts - mainly proteins, but also amino acids, vitamins, oils. They have a strong sensitizing activity, which becomes greater during processing. Allergens are heat resistant, so those allergic to these proteins are not protected after heat treatment, on the contrary - the allergenicity is enhanced.

In addition, those who are allergic to one type of nut often suffer from allergies to other types as well. With an allergy to nuts, it is very possible to develop an allergy to almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pine nuts and others from trees - see tree nut allergy.