The walnut is the most allergic dry fruit. Nut allergy is a condition that usually lasts a lifetime. It occurs because the body reacts to certain proteins found in these nuts. One of the most common reasons for it to occur is allergy to pollen, which a large part of the population suffers from. Pollen allergy can cause cross-reactions with nuts.
It is estimated that 10% of the European population suffers from a nut allergy, with both children and adults being affected. This allergy can cause mild or serious, even life-threatening, problems.
When talking about nuts, not only the typical nut is considered, but many others that can also cause allergies. The types of nuts are: hazelnuts, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, typical nuts, Brazil nuts, pecans and pistachios. Peanuts are not considered nuts, but legumes. Many people also have question if nutmeg is a nut.
Allergies vary according to the regions of the world. Allergy to tree nuts such as hazelnuts is common in Europe. Allergy to walnuts or cashews is common in the United States.
It should be noted that traces of nuts can also be found in other foods such as bread, cakes, cookies, ice cream, muesli, sweets or even croquettes, meatballs, fish and meat. You should always read the ingredients very well.
What are the symptoms of a nut allergy
Nut allergy can cause very strong reactions in the person, although the symptoms vary from one individual to another. Commonly, the person experiences itching and inflammation in the mouth and throat. Other symptoms are flare-ups of eczema (inflammation of the skin), hives, stomach pain and an urge to vomit. In the most serious cases, in the face of allergic shock there is a risk of death.
In general, children react much more strongly to these types of allergies. Also walnut powder can cause a severe allergic reaction in certain people. Allergy to walnut powder can lead to colds, worsening skin inflammation, and asthma attacks.
Other symptoms include itchy eyes and nose, cough, digestive problems, cramps, diarrhoea, rapid heart rate and sweating. In general, allergy causes fatigue, headache and migraine. It should be noted that not all patients suffer from the same symptoms. In some people these can appear just after consumption and in others, hours later.
Sometimes just breathing near the nut or bringing it into contact with the skin is enough to trigger the allergic reaction. Before any indication, a medical test should be done. The professional will determine the foods that should be eliminated from the patient’s diet. However, there are some substitutes for nuts.
Why are tiger nuts a good alternative to walnuts?
There are alternatives for almost all foods that cause allergies. And so it is with walnuts. Nut allergy is very common today, but these nuts can be substituted for tiger nuts.
The tiger nut is not a nut, but a bulbous plant. Tigernuts contain much less protein and unsaturated fatty acids, and have a high starch content. They are an ideal alternative for those who suffer from allergies to nuts. The tiger nut is a gluten and lactose free tuber plant. Therefore, it can be consumed without concern even by people allergic to these elements.
Another benefit of tiger nuts is its high content of soluble dietary fibers, so it stimulates bowel movements. Due to its high fiber content, it is highly recommended to drink water with its consumption to avoid constipation.
There are several ways to consume tiger nuts
In the market, the tiger nut can be found whole, in the form of flakes, powder or as tiger nut milk. If you choose to buy dried tiger nuts, they should be soaked in water for about a day before consumption. Due to its flavor, the tiger nut has a taste similar to that of walnuts and almonds. It is the perfect substitute for those allergic to nuts.
What other alternatives to nuts exist?
There are other varied and delicious alternatives to consider for those allergic to nuts and other dried fruits. In addition to tiger nuts, there are other interesting substitutes such as soy (or soy milk), tofu or grain or wheat flakes.
Other recommended products are flax, sunflower or pumpkin seeds. All of them can be eaten as snacks and are healthy alternatives for those allergic to nuts. An interesting alternative is dried fruit (raisins, dried bananas, dates, oranges, blueberries, etc.). Although they don’t taste like nuts, they are a delicious and healthy alternative. However, its consumption should be moderated due to its high caloric intake (higher than that of walnuts).
Humus, olives and coconut are also foods with beneficial properties and ideal for replacing nuts.
It is not pleasant to have to do without nuts and dried fruit. However, some of the proposed alternatives are snacks that retain a nut-like flavor. This is the case of the tiger nut.
Another problem derived from not being able to include nuts in the diet is that their healthy properties are lost. However, dried fruits, seeds and soy derivatives have similar properties although their flavor is not the same. All of them are healthy foods that are well tolerated by people with a nut allergy.
As a final recommendation, before consuming tiger nuts or any other of the proposed alternatives, you should consult your doctor. A professional should verify that the patient does not have other allergies to substitutes.
Once it has been determined that the person can consume them, delicious recipes can begin to be prepared: horchata, soy and coconut milk or dried fruit salads. All foods contribute to the person with allergies enjoying a rich and varied diet.