told me she Is allergic to mangoes and takes special
precautions to avoid them. And did you know," she
continued, "that mangoes are related to poison oak? So if
you are sensitive to poison oak, you might also be sensitive
to mangoes Ö but not always."
news to me. Iíve been sensitive to poison oak ever since I
chopped down some innocent-looking vines in my yard that
turned out to be not so innocent. But I can eat mangoes, no
was right. There is a connection between mangoes and poison
oak. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and
Immunology (ACAAI), a substance called "urushiol"
that resides in mango tree sap is also found in poison oak and
poison ivy. In some people, contact with urushiol causes an
itchy, blistering skin rash that makes you feel very
uncomfortable and cranky.
are sensitive to poison ivy or poison oak, advises the ACAAI,
you should be careful about touching the leaves or bark of
mango trees or the outer skin of mangoes. The inside pulp (the
part of the mango that we eat) does not contain urushiol, so
people with this particular type of skin sensitivity can
usually eat mango fruit without problems.
important however, to understand the difference between true
food allergies and sensitivities. According to the Institute
of Food Technologists (IFT), food allergies involve a mild to
severe immune response against an ingredient in food. Food
sensitivities are more difficult to pin down; they can provoke
unpredictable symptoms based on how much or how often a person
eats an offending food.
me thinking about my older daughter, who gets an itchy mouth
when she eats cantaloupe. Experts say this is a kind of
allergy called "oral allergy" or "food-pollen
allergy" syndrome. In this case, a person who is allergic
to certain pollens (such as ragweed) experiences allergic-type
symptoms when she eats foods that are genetically related to
that pollen. Cantaloupe and watermelon, for example, are
genetic cousins to ragweed; apples and carrots share some
genetic similarities with birch trees.
more severe allergies that can be life threatening, oral
allergies donít usually go beyond itchy lips or a tingling
mouth, say experts. Still, with any type of food reaction, itís
always a good idea to get a diagnosis from a board certified
allergist, says the ACAAI. And be careful about trimming
innocent-looking vines out of trees.