Remember that saying, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away?” Well in fact, if you have an apple allergy, you might need to make some dietary changes besides just avoiding apples.
Apples have a reputation for being a nutritious fruit, for preventing illness and promoting health.
In fact, apples provide soluble fiber, insoluble fiber, Vitamin C, and antioxidants in the form of the phytochemicals quercetin, catechin, chlorogenic acid, and anthocyanin (source).
Apples can be eaten raw or can also be used as an ingredient for various dishes, drinks and desserts. Apple products include dried apples, apple puree / apple sauce, dried apple powder, dried apple fiber.
However, some people are allergic to apples. Others may have a food sensitivity or other intolerance to apples and apple products.
Please continue reading to learn more about apples, apple allergy, apple sensitivity and apple intolerance.
Apples come from the Rosaceae family of fruits specifically from the Maloideae family. If you are allergic to apples or can’t eat apples, then you may also need to be cautious with the following (source, source):
- Flowering Quince
- Mountain Ash
Apple Allergy: Cross Reactivities
Proteins found in apples may be similar to proteins found in other foods. These reactions are linked to birch-pollen allergy and oral allergy syndrome. Cross reactivity may vary based on where people live and how foods are prepared.
See our infographic guide below. To avoid an allergic reaction due to cross-reactivity, the following foods may need to be avoided (source):
Hidden Sources of Apples
Apple is a common fruit and is used as an ingredient in many food products. In the case of all food allergies, please be sure to read food labels. The following foods and recipes may contain apples.
- Alcoholic beverages (such as apple whiskey, apple wine, cocktails, hard cider, sangria)
- Apple Butter
- Apple Cider / Mulled Cider / Hard Cider
- Apple Cider Doughnuts
- Apple Cider Vinegar (may be used as a salad dressing or in juices and tonics.)
- Apple Chips
- Apple Sausage
- Apple Sauce
- Baked Goods (like apple pie, apple fritters. Apple sauce may be used as a sweetener.)
- Candy Apples
- Chicken Salad
- Fruit juice
- Fruit and vegetable juice
- Main Dishes — apples are sometimes cooked with cabbage, chicken, pork, burgers and other main dishes.
- Salads (such as a salad with grilled chicken and sliced apples)
- Tuna Salad
- Waldorf Salad
Apple Allergy: Signs and Symptoms
Allergic reactions to apples can range from mild to life threatening. View our helpful infographic below. Possible reactions include the following (source):
- Abdominal Cramping
- Abdominal Pain
- Difficulty talking
- Itching – on skin, mouth, lips, throat.
- Low pulse rate.
- Skin rashes and / or hives
- Swelling – including swollen lips, face, eyes.
- Trouble breathing
- Trouble swallowing
Apple Juice Alternatives
As a beverage, apple juice can be replaced by other fruit juices such as orange juice or grape juice.
Because apple juice is so commonly used in fruit beverages and blended fruit juices, we recommend choosing fruit juice that contains only a single ingredient.
Labels can be very misleading. For example, many juices are labeled “100% juice” so it may appear that it is not a blended beverage. However, checking the Ingredients section of the label is very important.
As a sweetener in baked goods, the following foods may be good options:
- Mashed Banana
- Prune Juice
- Pumpkin Puree
- Pureed Peaches / Baby food peaches
Vitamin C Alternative
When it comes to nutritional goals for people with food allergies, the most immediate goal is to prevent allergic reactions. Other goals include ensuring that the diet is not overly restrictive or inadequate in nutrients.
Apples contain Vitamin C which is used in the body to support skin, blood cells and the immune system. The good news is that Vitamin C is present in many other foods including (source):
- Brussel Sprouts
- Red Pepper
Fiber is important for bowel function and gut health. It helps with bowel regularity, blood sugar regulation, and hunger management. Apples provide dietary fiber and many other foods do as well. Here is a list of foods that may help you include adequate fiber in your diet. (source):
- Baked Potato (including the skin)
- Bran Cereal
- Brown Rice
- Oats / Oatmeal
- Whole Grains
Antioxidant Alternative Sources
Antioxidants play a role in protecting the body’s cells. to your body’s cells. This is associated with preventing chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, and dementia. When you can’t eat apples, consider other foods as sources of antioxidants (source):
- Berries such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries
- Grapes – especially dark colored grapes
- Green Tea
- Sweet Potatoes
- Vegetables – especially dark leafy greens including collard greens, kale and spinach
- Whole Grains
The best treatment of food allergies and intolerances is prevention. After that, consider how to make your diet as enjoyable and as nourishing as possible. Here are some tips in handling your allergy:
- Always read the food label (Watch out for hidden sources!)
- Avoid foods that will trigger your allergy due to cross reactivity.
- Identify symptoms and seek help when needed.
- Have an emergency plan.
- Identify foods that are safer and enjoyable.
- Plan for your long term nutrition needs.
While avoiding is a good plan, it is also highly recommended to see healthcare professionals such as Allergists, Registered Dietitians or Certified Leap Therapist for more treatment options.