Allergies, or adverse reactions to food, are on the rise in infants, children, and adults. Eating a food, touching the food, or sometimes even inhaling aerosolized proteins of the food as it is cooking and wafting into the air can cause allergic reactions. Scientific documentation demonstrates that roughly 3 to 4% of adults and 5% of children are allergic to specific foods. The prevalence of food allergy in infancy is increasing and may affect up to 15-20 % of infants causing both growth and development issues.
Food allergies usually occur “immediately” after consuming a food, happening within minutes or hours of exposure. These types of immediate food allergy reactions cause a release of excessive immunoglobulin E proteins (IgE) in response to consuming what is referred to as an “offending” food.
Food intolerances most often do not happen immediately after consuming the foods, but can occur in a “delayed manner”, which means 24-hours to days or weeks after consuming an intolerant food. This often makes the link between the offending food and the symptoms difficult to identify. Food intolerances are adverse reactions to food that are not dependent on IgE but rather are mixed IgE/Non-IgE or non-IgE’s.
Strawberries and tomatoes
Strawberries and tomatoes are among the most widely consumed fruits and vegetables worldwide. They are a common food allergy, especially if you also have a birch pollen allergy. This is because the proteins that cause the allergic reactions in strawberries and tomatoes closely resemble the primary allergen inside birch pollen. This is referred to as “cross-reactivity” between tomatoes and strawberries and birch pollen allergies.
Approximately 30% of the people who react to birch pollen will suffer with adverse allergenic reactions to strawberries. There is also a significant relationship or “cross-reactivity” between peach and tomato sensitivities.
Knowledge is power. If you know which types of tomatoes and strawberries are most likely to cause allergic reactions, you may be able to find other varieties that you can consume without adverse reactions. Wouldn’t that make your life easier?
Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) contain various “allergenic proteins” that cause these adverse reactions. These proteins vary depending on the size, color, cultivation, and even drying to freezing methods used before the food reaches human consumption.
Researchers at the Technical University of Munich have discovered that the “specific type” of strawberries or tomatoes you eat is what makes a true allergic difference. These scientists studied 23 different colored tomato varieties and 20 strawberry varieties of different sizes and shapes. They analyzed the genetic factor for the expression of the allergenic proteins inside these foods.
The proteins with the highest allergy promoting action were the “Sola l 4.02” protein in tomatoes and the “Fra a 1” protein in strawberries. The rush is on to raise fruits with less, if none, of these allergy-causing proteins.
Ways to Possibly Reduce Tomato and Strawberry Allergies:
- Rugantino (a Dutch heirloom variety) and Rhianna tomatoes have the lowest levels of allergic proteins, while Farbini and Bambello have the highest. Heirloom tomatoes may be less allergic. Give them a try if you have mild or moderate reactions to tomatoes. If you are prone to anaphylaxis, don’t experiment at all, it’s not worth the risk.
- Dried tomatoes and strawberries are less allergic. This is because allergic proteins are damaged by heat. But if you are reactive to salicylates, these can be concentrated by the drying process. Cultivation (growing) methods had negligible effects on the amount of allergic proteins present in these fruits.
- Try digestive enzymes; rule out dysbiosis (more bad to good gut bugs), hidden infections, and nutrient deficiencies.
- Avoid processed foods that can increase adverse reactions to foods.
- L-glutamine and zinc carnosine, along with balanced hormones, protect your gut wall barrier system preventing leaky gut, which promotes adverse food reactions of both types, but especially delayed adverse food reactions.
Symptoms and treatment of food reactivites
Common symptoms of IGE (immediate reacting) food allergies include atopic eczema, colic and reflux in infants, acne, IBS and gastro-esophageal reflux in adults.
Symptoms from non-IgE and non-immediate reacting food allergies or intolerances include a wide range of diseases: atopic dermatitis, food protein-induced enterocolitis, headaches, joint pain, brain fog, diverse gut issues, recurrent respiratory issues, depression, anxiety and other mood disorders, and even eosinophilic esophagitis and celiac disease.
The most common food allergies in children include milk, egg, soy, wheat, peanut, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Milk and egg allergies are sometimes outgrown, but peanut and tree nut allergies tend to persist. In breast-fed infants, a maternal elimination diet is often sufficient to control food allergy symptoms.
The treatment of food allergies requires the strict elimination of the offending food allergens while you figure out why your body is having issues with this food in the first place.
In formula-fed infants, treatment usually involves the use of amino acid-based formulas.
Some immediate food reactions are genetic and permanent, but many food intolerances are secondary to “fixable” issues. Classical allergists boost the immune system to help improve food allergies through shots or drops. But they often do not assess potentially “fixable” issues such as digestion and gut health, nutrients, or hidden infections that may be at the root cause of the allergic issues.
The alarming rate of increase of all allergies in all age groups calls for identification and action to rule out adverse food reaction issues in almost any chronic health condition.
To help reduce negative food reactions, always work with a practitioner that attempts to identify and address the following issues: digestion competence, improved nutrition, avoidance of processed foods, nutrient deficiencies and identification and eradication of “stealth” or hidden infections that can be in any “biome” inside your body. Biomes are pockets of microbial life, found in all parts of your mouth, stomach, small and large intestine, lungs, and even your eyes, that “cross-talk” and potentially influence and effect immune function and allergic status.
Effect of tomato variety, cultivation, climate and processing on Sola l 4, an allergen from Solanum lycopersicum. PLOS ONE, 2018; 13 (6): e0197971 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197971
Allergy. 2010 Dec;65(12):1626-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2010.02443.x. Airborne allergy to tomato proteins.
Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2015;25(3):183-9. Hypersensitivity to Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) in Peach-Allergic Patients: rPrup 3 and rPrup 1 Are Predictive of Symptom Severity.
Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2014 Jun;46(3):225-40. doi: 10.1007/s12016-012 8339-6. Clinical spectrum of food allergies: a comprehensive review.
Effect of the Strawberry Genotype, Cultivation and Processing on the Fra a 1 Allergen Content. Nutrients, 2018; 10 (7): 857 DOI: 10.3390/nu10070857
J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2013;23(1):37-42.Tomato allergy: clinical features and usefulness of current routinely available diagnostic methods.
Chem Immunol Allergy. 2015;101:171-80. doi: 10.1159/000371700. Epub 2015 May 21. Gastrointestinal food allergies.
J Pediatr. 2014 Oct;165(4):842-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.06.003. Epub 2014 Jul 16. Growth comparison in children with and without food allergies in 2 different demographic populations.
Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Nov;47(6):180-7. An overview of fruit allergy and the causative allergens.