The most common legume allergy is to peanuts, but the legume family is broad and allergies can occur with other members of this family. It’s important to know the symptoms of this allergy in case you or a member of your family is experiencing a health episode related to that food allergy.
What Are Legumes?
Peanuts, of course. Also, peas, soybeans (tofu), beans and lentils can be the source of a legume allergy. Lupine, found in European flour products, can also provoke a reaction.
What Does A Mild Reaction Look Like?
A mild reaction may present as an itchy feeling in the mouth, red blotching in the face and stomach cramping. The itching is a result of a histamine response typical of allergies. There may also be a reaction due to a missing critical enzyme necessary for proper digestion of peanuts and other legumes. This will cause stomach distress.
How Does That Differ From A Severe Reaction?
A severe reaction might include vomiting, diarrhea, and severe rash. This happens because the body is attacking the legume proteins as if they were a threat or toxin. The body is attempting to purge the offenders.
If this happens, get medical attention immediately. If the episode is extremely severe, anaphylactic shock could occur and this is a life-threatening event. Anaphylactic shock, or anaphylaxis, will include a tightening of the chest and difficulty breathing. There will be a rapid pulse, dizziness, fainting, swelling of the tongue and/or throat and a dramatic change in blood pressure.
Can Legume Allergies Be Cured or Prevented?
The short answer is no. There is no cure for allergies. However, with diligence, dangerous reactions can be avoided. If you suspect an allergy, see your doctor about getting tested to find out for sure. Then you will know if you need to avoid legumes, and what type, in the future to protect your health.
For severe allergies, you may need to carry an epinephrine injector. While this may seem inconvenient, it is a life-saving device and can give you the confidence and freedom to enjoy life knowing you are prepared in case the worst happens.