Here at iWellness, we want you to get the most out of your health and wellness lifestyle. Some of the healthy snack choices we provide, like our iWellness Bars, contain peanuts and therefore are not an option for some people. Nut allergies are among the most common food allergies in the world, with reactions ranging from mild to severe. When it comes to nut allergies, there are some important facts that many people are not aware of. This article will give you a little more information on nut allergies and some healthy alternatives!
One thing that many people are often not aware of is the difference between peanuts and tree nuts. Peanuts, like the kind used to make peanut butter, are actually in the legume family, along with peas, beans, soy, lentils, licorice and vegetable gums such as acacia and tragacanth. Peanuts are grown in the ground as opposed to on trees. Tree nuts, on the other hand, grow on trees and include walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts and pistachios.
Because ground nuts and tree nuts are botanically unrelated, a peanut allergy does not necessarily mean you have an allergy to other types of nuts. Peanut allergic people can often eat tree nuts and tree nut allergic people can often eat peanuts! In particular, almonds seem to cause the least allergy problems of all the tree nuts.
It is important however, to be cautious when dealing with nut allergies, as reactions can be severe. Although it is not always true that you will have an allergy to both ground nuts and tree nuts, having an allergy to one does increase the probability that you will develop an allergy to the other. So, if you are allergic to peanuts, you will be more likely to have a tree nut allergy than someone who is not allergic to peanuts.
In addition, someone with any kind of nut allergy must be careful about cross-contamination. This happens when peanuts and tree nuts are packaged in the same areas, causing trace amounts of peanuts to end up in with other types of nuts or vice versa. For some people, even trace amounts are enough to cause an allergic reaction. Make sure you understand which types of nuts affect your body and how they are packaged!
Luckily, for people who do have these allergies, there are some healthy, delicious alternatives. Almond butter, for example, is a great switch for someone who cannot eat peanut butter but is able to eat tree nuts. Almonds are known for their ability to reduce the risk of heart disease and cholesterol levels and are full of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. There are many other nut and seed butters to choose from, including hemp-seed butter, sunflower-seed butter and soy nut butter.