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Can You Eat Nutmeg If You Are Allergic to Nuts?

by
author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Can You Eat Nutmeg If You Are Allergic to Nuts?
Whole nutmeg on a wooden table. Photo Credit Zoonar/O.Kovach/Zoonar/Getty Images

Since nutmeg is not a nut, it is considered safe to eat if you’re allergic to nuts, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. If you have a food allergy, your immune system is hypersensitive to the proteins found in most nuts. A nut allergy is considered one of the most common food-related allergens and is either outgrown during childhood or is a life-long condition. There is no cure for a nut allergy, but it is manageable. Talk with your doctor if you experience adverse affects after eating nutmeg or nuts.

About Nutmeg

Nutmeg is made from seeds to a tropical tree and used primarily as a spice in baked good and main entrees. Nutmeg is not a nut and does not contain any nut protein. If you have a nut allergy, you can use nutmeg while cooking without hesitation

Nut Allergy

A nut allergy affects about 1.8 million Americans, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. A nut allergy occurs when the immune system identifies the proteins in nuts as a harmful substance. The immune system protects the body from dangerous substances, such as viruses, bacteria and infections. A nut allergy is a malfunction in the immune system where it attacks the nut proteins in the same way it would a viral infection. This leads to the production of antibodies and histamine.

Symptoms

Most nut allergy symptoms are a result of increased levels of histamine in the body. Histamine helps to protect the body from invading substances, but causes inflammation in soft tissue throughout the body. The result of increased histamine can lead to asthma, digestive difficulties, skin rashes and nasal congestion. Asthma symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. You may develop diarrhea, stomach cramping, nausea and vomiting as an allergic reaction to nuts.

Testing

Obtain a proper diagnosis from an allergist by participating in allergy testing. Two tests may be administered to confirm a food-related allergy. A skin test uses a small amount of nut proteins that are placed under the skin. The allergist observes to see if the skin develops a rash. Blood tests look for increased levels of IgE antibodies after nut protein is added to the blood.

Treatment

Treat mild allergic symptoms with an oral antihistamine. An antihistamine will block the mast cells from producing the hormone, leading to a reduction in allergy-related symptoms. If you experience a severe allergic reaction to nuts, you may require an epinephrine injection. Get emergency medical attention if you develop shortness of breathe, restricted breathing, swelling in the throat, hives and lightheadedness.

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