Ingredients to Avoid for Tree Nut Allergy
Each tree nut allergy is unique and may encompass one or multiple types of tree nuts. Common ingredients to avoid for tree nut allergy include:
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Hickory nuts
- Nut meal
- Walnut hull extract
- Pine nuts
Most who suffer from tree nut allergy experience adverse effects from walnuts, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts, or pistachios. While diagnosed almond allergy may be uncommon, and hazelnut is also less common, both nuts can often trigger a reaction or Oral Allergy Syndrome that is related to cross-reactions to pollen. And while the FDA considers coconut as part of the tree nut family, it is actually a fruit and does not fall under the tree nut family of allergens. A diagnosed coconut allergy is generally uncommon.
Foods That Commonly Contain Tree Nuts
The FDA requires that tree nuts be clearly labeled on packaging, as tree nuts represent one of the most common and severe food allergies. Tree nuts can be found in a wide variety of foods, ranging from sauces and condiments to baked goods and beverages. Examples of foods that commonly contain tree nuts include:
- Granola and granola bars
- Energy bars
- Nut flours
- Flavored coffee
- Almond milk
- Pecan pie
- Ice cream
- Candy bars
- Barbeque sauces
- Nut liqueurs
While some foods may be more obvious than others (such as nut-based flour or milk), tree nuts can often be hidden in unlikely places. Those with a tree nut allergy should ensure that all labels and packaging are free from their specific allergens to avoid accidental exposure.
Tree Nut Allergy Treatment Options
Oral immunotherapy (OIT) can be used to treat tree nut allergy in patients of all ages. OIT is a safe and effective treatment to minimize reactions to contact with food allergens, protecting against accidental exposure and empowering patients to eat a balanced, full diet with confidence.
OIT gradually exposes the patient to small doses of allergens over time. This desensitizes the body and helps to retrain the immune system, decreasing adverse allergic reactions. At Latitude Food Allergy Care, oral immunotherapy is offered with or without Xolair: an anti-IgE monoclonal antibody that helps suppress allergic reactions for some patients.
In some cases, the treatment of one nut allergy may also protect from another. For example, OIT treatment for cashew allergy can also protect against adverse reactions to pistachio. Similarly, OIT treatment for walnut allergy can protect against allergic reactions to pecans. Emerging research suggests that walnut allergy treatment may even cross-protect hazelnut, too.
For many people, oral immunotherapy also provides dramatic improvements in overall quality of life. OIT is approximately 85 percent effective when performed by a skilled clinician who specializes in food allergy treatment.