Known as groundnuts or goober in the USA and monkey nut in the UK, peanuts are a legume grown mainly for their edible seeds. Peanuts are often prepared in the same ways as walnuts or almonds and are also similar in taste and nutrition.
Peanuts come from the same family as lentils, soya beans, garden peas, and chickpeas. Most people can consume other types of legumes without presenting symptoms, making peanuts the outlier in this respect.
Although the population of peanut allergy sufferers is small it can be one of the most acute and severe reactions of allergies. Eating just a small amount of peanut or even coming into contact with contaminated items can cause a reaction in those allergic.
It can be difficult to avoid peanuts due to their wide use in processed foods. It is essential to read all product ingredients and allergy warnings on the packaging to avoid this trigger item. Awareness of this allergy has increased in recent years, making it easier for people with this allergy to adjust accordingly.
The hygiene hypothesis of allergy states that a lack of early childhood exposure to germs and parasites may be the cause of an increase in food allergies.
Studies comparing the age introduction of peanuts into the diet in Great Britain with an introduction in Israel showing that delaying exposure to peanuts in children can increase the risk of developing peanut allergies later in life.
Refined peanut oil doesn’t usually create an allergic reaction in most sufferers of peanut allergies. However, they have been shown to contain the very protein that causes allergic reactions, so avoidance may still be advisable.
Symptoms of peanut allergy include:
Narrowing of the throat
Nausea or vomiting
Rash or hives
Swelling of the face or lips
Those allergic to peanut should also be aware of the various names that peanuts may be referred to as:
Peanut sensitivity (or intolerance) is where a person may present different digestive symptoms and levels of severity after the consumption of related products. These symptoms are usually less severe than those of a peanut allergy, but this condition can still be embarrassing and uncomfortable for sufferers.
Symptoms of peanut sensitivity include:
Peanuts are jam-packed with essential nutrients and calories. They are a good source of various vitamins, such as; B vitamins, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. They also contain a high proportion of fiber and protein.
Replacing key nutrients when eliminating peanuts
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 are some equitable examples of alternatives when eliminating peanuts from the diet:
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
Intolerance and sensitivity tests
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IgE antibody blood-spot tests for acute or immediate symptoms.