These 10 Foods Can Make Spring Allergies Worse

Your favorite health foods might be leading to a swollen mouth and itchy gums


It’s important to know which foods are safe to snack on, and which will give you itchy gums and a swollen mouth.

One symbol of spring is the cornucopia of seasonal produce. Blueberries, cherries, and apricots reach their peak sweetness during this time of year, and after a long, cold winter, home cooks are excited to get out to their local farmers market and see what treasures they can uncover.

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But another marker of spring is the wave of seasonal allergies that affect more than 45 million Americans each year, according to data from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever or simply ‘allergies’) occurs when the immune system overreacts to particles introduced from the air. The immune system identifies these particles as foreign, prompting an immune response which includes sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include sneezing continuously after you wake up, a post-nasal drip, and itchy eyes.

The most common type of springtime allergen is pollen, which is released into the air from flowers, trees, and other plants as they bloom. But one particular form of pollen is especially troublesome: birch tree pollen, which is most prevalent along the eastern coast of the United States. Researchers have concluded that fresh, raw produce can exacerbate certain symptoms in people allergic to birch tree pollen — a condition known as pollen-food allergy syndrome, or oral allergy syndrome. The proteins in foods like apples, celery, and hazelnuts are structurally similar to birch tree pollen, which triggers an auto-immune response similar to a mild allergic reaction.


Fortunately, when these foods are cooked, the proteins are broken down, and no reaction should occur. Still, it’s important to know which foods are safe to snack on, and which will give you itchy gums and a swollen mouth.

  1. are 10 foods that can make spring allergies worse.