For some, it’s slight; for others, it’s severe. Everything from a small rash or hives to head congestion to complete anaphylaxis can happen.
In any case, a peanut allergy is a real concern for those that have it. Despite it being a tasty legume that supplies many food industries, a lot of people suffer ill effects even with slight exposure to it.
Peanuts’ ever presence in today’s global foodstuffs makes it difficult for people with peanut allergies to enjoy a higher quality of life. However, having some foreknowledge about foods to avoid with a peanut allergy can help make day-to-day food consumption enjoyable yet secure.
What is a Peanut Allergy?
While specialists are not sure what exactly causes a peanut allergy, they are sure on what it is. A peanut allergy is a physical allergic response to an exposure of either peanuts or peanut-containing products.
When people with this allergy get in contact with peanuts, the common symptoms can be swelling, rash or hives, itchiness, and some pains in the abdomen. People that suffer harder reactions to peanut allergies can suffer asthma, eczema, and in some cases, cardiac arrest. For some this can be quite extreme: even a short smell of, say, peanut butter or being in the presence of someone eating a bag of snack peanuts can trigger a reaction that requires emergency assistance. (1)
There’s no question on the taste quality of peanuts or peanut products for those that can consume them risk-free—there was a period in the 1990s when many restaurants cooked their food in peanut oil, even going so far as to advertise it based on positive customer response.
But since then, many food services have avoided using peanut oils or supplying peanut products to restaurants, schools, and festivals to avoid risking people’s health.
Foods to Avoid with Peanut Allergy
If you haven’t traveled much, you might be surprised how often peanuts are used internationally. From chopped peanuts served with Thai noodles to whole peanuts in Indian desserts to even being able to buy American made peanut butter in China, peanuts are everywhere.
According to recent statistics, peanut allergies are on the rise with children and from all reports are something people suffer with all of their lives.
Measures have been taken to deal with this, with warnings and disclaimers being given out by food companies. However, depending on where one lives or travels, they can be hidden in certain restaurant or snack foods that occasionally come without any such warning.
To be fair, many companies have discontinued using peanuts in their products to ensure customer safety.
- Peanut oil
- Chocolate bars
- Arachic oil
- Egg rolls
- Beer nuts
- Artificial flavoring
- Mixed nut concoctions
- Nutmeat Peanut substitutes
Peanut Allergy Foods with Highest Risk
People that have severe reactions to peanuts need to be extra cautious. The painful and life-threatening consequences of extreme peanut allergies are serious matters for many people in society today.
The real issue can be that peanuts are unseen ingredients in food preparation and often showcased in many global dishes across a lot of culinary practices.
In this case, people with strong peanut allergies need to be on the offensive and do some homework on what peanut-related risks are in the food they think of eating all over the world.
Here are a few specific food areas to watch for high-risk peanut allergy sufferers:
|Candies and Desserts||A lot of candies are just made of corn or cane sugars. However, many companies also employ nuts of different varieties as ingredients in their candies as part of the taste recipe. It’s always good to check labels and especially inquire into artisanal candy makers to see what they include in their sweets. It’s also important to mention that many desserts, including dairy-based treats like custards or ice cream often use peanuts. Some are obvious but others aren’t. Be sure to know what goes into sweet food to see if peanuts are anywhere near them.|
|Pastries||If you sample a lot of the world’s baked goods, everything from cookies to baklava to biscotti use nuts of various varieties. These are old, traditional recipes, and while enjoyable for some, they are dangerous for others. Even pastries that contain no nuts are often prepared in the presence of nut-containing ones. Again, it’s good to inquire and subsequently stay away from any baked goods one even suspects of having any trace of peanuts in them.|
|Ethnic Food||Speaking of traditional recipes, ethnic foods from countries as varied as India, China, Mexico, and Thailand make strong use of peanuts in their longstanding dishes. Like pastries, some dishes may not have any peanuts on the ingredients list, but they are made in the presence of peanut-containing dishes. When in doubt, it’s best to skip over the more ethnic dishes at restaurants or default to safer food while traveling.|
|Condiments and Cooking Aids||While not as common as the food mentioned above, many condiments such as sauces, flavorings, and seasonings make use of peanuts. They can be applied as a taste enhancer or a way to thicken another dish. There are also certain specialty chefs or restaurants that use peanut oils in food preparation. If any suspicion arises, it’s good to see what the cooking staff has in their arsenal that may have an adverse effect upon consumption.|
Peanut Allergy Management and Treatment
No matter how hard one might try, the chances of someone suffering from a peanut allergy coming into contact with peanuts are reasonably high.
It’s tough: they are so common in food today, from healthy snack bars to high-end desserts served at social gatherings. That and there is no cut-and-dry peanut allergy cure thus developed.
With that in mind, it’s good for those that have any sort of peanut allergy learn to manage their condition and know how to treat it in case of emergency.
1. Getting tested by a medical professional to gauge how severe the peanut allergy is.
2. Getting prescribed a peanut allergy management medicine that they can keep on hand. The most popular one is epinephrine that comes in an auto-injector format, akin to the EpiPen injector for bee sting allergy sufferers.
3. Having access to antihistamines as an added epinephrine enhancement to deal with light peanut allergy symptoms.
4. Advise friends and family of your conditions. For any sort of social event, they can plan the menu a bit better to suit your peanut allergy.
5. Being vigilant in inquiring about foods that may have peanuts. One might not become popular by asking a lot of questions of ingredients in the food you buy, but safety has to come first and peanut allergy management will save a lot of medical hardship later on. (4)