To prevent a reaction, it is very important that you avoid peanut, tree nut, and peanut products. Always read food labels to identify ones with peanut ingredients.
If you are allergic to peanuts, you have up to 40% higher chance of being allergic to tree nuts also. Furthermore, peanuts and tree nuts often touch one another during manufacturing and serving processes.
Peanuts are one of the eight major allergens that must be listed on packaged foods sold in the U.S., as mandated by federal law.
Sources of Peanut
Avoid foods that contain peanuts or any of these components:
- Arachis oil (peanut oil)
- Ground nuts
- Artificial nuts
- Beer nuts
- Cold-pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil*
- Lupin (or lupine): a common flour substitute in gluten-free food. A study showed a strong possibility of cross-reaction between peanuts and this legume.
- Mandelonas (peanuts soaked in almond flavoring)
- Mixed nuts
- Monkey nuts
- Nut meat
- Nut pieces
- Peanut butter
- Peanut flour
- Peanut protein hydrolysate
Note of warning: Highly refined peanut oil is not required to be labeled as an allergen, and studies has shown that most people with peanut allergy can safely eat this kind of peanut oil.
However, you should avoid cold-pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil (gourmet oils), as these ingredients are different and are not safe to eat if you have a peanut allergy.
Other Possible Sources of Peanut
Peanuts can be found in unexpected places, so you can’t be too careful.
Read food labels and ask questions about ingredients before eating or serving to your kids, a food that you have not prepared yourself.
About restaurant food, even if you order a peanut-free dish, there is high risk of cross-contact.
Alternative nut butters, such as soy nut butter or sunflower seed butter, are sometimes produced on equipment shared with other tree nuts and peanuts, and can pose a risk to you. Be careful before eating these products. They include:
- Candy (chocolate candy)
- Egg rolls
- Enchilada sauce
- Ice creams
- Pet food
- Glazes and marinades
- Sauces such as chili sauce, hot sauce, pesto, and salad dressing
- Specialty pizzas
- Sunflower seeds (which are often produced on equipment shared with tree nuts and peanuts)
- Sweets such as pudding, cookies, pies and hot chocolate, and
- Some vegetarian food products, especially those advertised as meat substitutes
Also, peanut hulls or shells can sometimes be found in compost, which can be used as lawn fertilizer. Always ask garden and lawn contractors whether they use peanut hulls in their compost so you can make a knowledgeable decision.
Signs and Symptoms of a Nut Allergy
When someone with a peanut or tree nut allergy has something with nuts in it, the body releases chemicals like histamine, which can cause symptoms such as:
- trouble breathing
- itchy, or watery eyes,
- swollen eyes
- throat tightness
- a drop in blood pressure
- dizziness or fainting
- anxiety or a feeling something bad is happening
Reactions to foods, like peanuts and tree nuts, can be different, as it all depends on a person. Sometimes the same person can react differently at different times.