Peanut are a legume grown mainly for the edible seeds also known as groundnuts, goober in the USA and monkey nut in UK.
Peanuts are similar in taste and nutrition to tree nuts like walnuts or almonds and are often prepared in the same ways.
Peanuts are from the same family as garden peas, lentils, soya beans and chick peas. Most people are able to consume other types of legumes without any issues presenting symptoms.
Although peanut allergy in the population remains small it can be one of the most acute and severe reactions of allergies. Eating a small amount of peanut or coming into contact with contaminated items can cause a reaction in some sufferers.
Avoiding peanuts can be difficult due to their wide use in processed foods. The reading of product ingredients and allergy warnings on packaging is essential to avoid this trigger item. High press coverage and raised awareness of this severe allergy is making it easier for people with this allergy to adapt their life accordingly.
The hygiene hypothesis of allergy states looks at a lack of early childhood exposure to germs and parasites may be causing the increase of food allergies.
Studies comparing the age introduction of peanuts into the diet in Great Britain with introduction in Israel showed that delaying exposure to peanuts in children can increase the risk of developing peanut allergies later in life.
Refined peanut oil does not usually create an allergic reaction in most sufferers of peanut allergies. However, unrefined peanut oils have been shown to contain the protein which causes the allergic reactions.
Symptoms of peanut allergy include:
Rash or hives
Nausea or vomiting
Narrowing of the throat
Swelling of the face or lips
Sufferers of peanut allergies should be aware of the following names peanuts can be referred to:
Peanut sensitivity or intolerance is where a person may present different digestive symptoms and levels of severity after the consumption of related products. Usually these are less severe than a peanut allergy, this condition can still be uncomfortable and embarrassing for the individual.
Symptoms of peanut sensitivity include:
Peanuts are packed in essential nutrients and calories. The are a good source of B vitamins, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. They also contain a high level of fibre and protein.
It is important to use alternative items in your diet when undertaking either a short or long term elimination diet to maintain nutrient balance.
Below a good examples or nutritional alternatives when eliminating peanuts:
Brewer’s yeast, oats, buckwheat, brown rice, rye, whole wheat, mushrooms, soybean flour and soybeans, split peas, sunflower seeds, lentils, chickpeas, broccoli, peppers
Dried apricots, salmon, mackerel, tuna, monkfish, white beans, lentils, kidney beans, avocado, butternut squash, spinach, mushrooms, bananas, potatoes
Spinach, kale, broccoli, Swiss chard, turnip greens, collards, avocado, sunflowers seeds, prawn/shrimp, crayfish, salmon, smoked salmon, swordfish, herring, trout, olive oil, sunflower oil, sweet potato, squashes, kiwi, mango, peach, nectarines, apricots, guava, raspberries, blackberries
Rye, oats, brown rice, barley, quinoa, mussels, lima beans, chickpeas, aduki beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pineapple, spinach, kale, tofu, soybeans, sweet potato, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
Brown rice, oats, rye, whole wheat, quinoa, poultry, pork, liver, sardines, scallops, salmon, mackerel, crab, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews
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