Peas and beans are not listed as one of the top eight food allergens, and the incidence of an allergy to them is small. However, it presents in much the same way as other food allergies and is treated by eliminating the food triggers. Peas and beans are part of the legume family, along with peanuts. About 10 percent of children who are allergic to peanuts are also allergic to one or more additional legumes, including peas and beans, according to Robert Wood, M.D., in an interview with ABC News. Some will outgrow the allergy as they get older, while some will continue to experience symptoms into adulthood.
Food allergy symptoms range in severity from person to person and are also dependent on how much of the allergenic food is ingested. An itching or tingling sensation in your mouth, hives or rash, swelling, wheezing, stomach pain, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and dizziness are symptoms you might experience. For some people with an allergy to peas and beans, anaphylaxis is a risk and involves a swelling of the airways, trouble breathing, shock, loss of consciousness and death. You may experience just a few of these symptoms or all of them.
Diagnosing the specific food that is causing your allergic reaction is sometimes difficult. This is particularly true in the case of less common allergies, such as peas and beans. Keeping a food diary allows your doctor to look for patterns; this helps pinpoint the food you are allergic to. Write down what you eat, how much and any symptoms that appear soon after. If your doctor suspects peas or beans, he may perform a skin prick test or a blood test to observe your body's response to the allergen. Eliminating peas and beans from your diet allows you to see if your symptoms abate. If symptoms reappear when you reintroduce them, you are likely allergic to them to some degree.
Eliminating peas and beans from your diet to prevent an allergic reaction involves reading labels to ensure you are not mistakenly consuming a trigger food. Eating in restaurants is particularly challenging because many only post allergen information for the top eight food allergens. Salad bars are especially worrisome because safe foods may have come into contact with peas or beans, increasing your risk of an allergic reaction. If you are unsure about the safety of a food, it is best to avoid eating it. Minor food allergies may respond to antihistamines. Major food allergies often require carrying an injectable dose of epinephrine, for treatment in cases of accidental ingestion.
Foods to Avoid
Avoiding whole beans and peas is an obvious way to prevent an allergic reaction. However, both products are sometimes present in foods, and you may not realize it. Dried peas appear in some types of trail mix and vegetable crackers. Mashed beans are sometimes used to prepare dips like hummus or guacamole, and whole beans and peas often appear in soups, chili and stew. Bean paste is used in some types of Asian sauces and marinades and should be avoided. Mexican cuisine makes use of beans, as well, and may not be safe to eat.