People can develop allergies to proteins found in many fruits and vegetables.
About 3 percent of adolescents have a fruit or vegetable allergy. The percentage is less in young children, where reactions are typically to kiwi, banana or avocado.
Fruits and vegetables from the Cucurbitaceae and Rosaceae plant groups and kiwi fruit are the most likely to trigger allergic symptoms. Cucurbitaceae plants include cucumber, watermelon, melon, pumpkin and zucchini. Rosaceae plants include pear, apple, peach, cherry and plum.
Fruit & Veggie Allergy Symptoms
Allergic reactions to fruits and vegetables usually occur within minutes of contact but may happen up to two hours afterward. Mild to moderate reactions include the following symptoms:
- Hives or welts
- Tingling inside the mouth
- Swelling of lips, eyes, or face
- Abdominal pain and/or vomiting
Anaphylaxis is possible but uncommon with fruit and vegetable allergy. The fruit most likely to cause a severe reaction is kiwi.
Some individuals with a fruit or veggie allergy may experience oral allergy syndrome, where symptoms are limited to the mouth area. Triggering foods cause tingling, itching or swelling of the lips, palate and tongue. This syndrome can occur in children, adolescents and adults.
Fruit and vegetable allergies are usually discovered when symptoms occur soon after eating a particular food. A skin prick test by a doctor can confirm the presence of allergy-indicating IgE antibodies.
Unless a doctor or allergist suggests otherwise, only the triggering vegetable or fruit needs to be avoided. Children and adults should continue to enjoy a wide range of nutrient-rich fruits and veggies.
Sometimes allergy-causing plant proteins are also found in the plant’s pollen. Certain individuals may become reactive to both plant pollen and the fruit. This is called the pollen-food allergy syndrome and is more common in adolescents and young adults.
Individuals diagnosed with a latex allergy are frequently allergic to certain plant products as well. About 40 percent of those with a latex allergy experience allergic symptoms from foods such as avocado, papaya, chestnut, mango, fig and pineapple.
Legumes, or the edible seeds of plants, include peanuts, beans, soybeans, peas, green beans and lentils. It is uncommon for a child to develop an allergy to more than one legume, but this may occur. Some kids, for instance, are allergic to peanuts and lupine beans. Most people with a legume allergy can ingest all types of fruit and vegetables. When in doubt, consult an allergist.