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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Is Carrot Allergy For Real ?

Carrot Allergy

Carrot Allergy
Carrot Allergy

The term “carrot allergy" almost smacks of blasphemy; the thought that the carrot, one of the nutritional superstars of the vegetable kingdom, could cause an allergic reaction is almost beyond belief. In this country, the United States, you'd have to travel far and wide to find anyone who suffers from a carrot allergy. Even individuals who suffer allergic reactions from other types of food, usually have no problems whatsoever with eating a carrot or two.

It's not the same story in Europe however where a fair percentage of those suffering from food allergies count carrots as one of the food types that gives them a problem. Since carrot allergies are more prevalent in Europe than in America one can only assume the environment, if not the culture, is somehow to blame. It has been determined that those who have a carrot allergy are also allergic to other food types belonging to a rather specific set. For example, there are Europeans who are allergic to celery and consequently allergic to carrots as well. There is a synergism of some sort at work. Yet few Americans have this problem.

Birch Pollen? - There is something that sheds some light on this mystery however, and that is pollen, specifically pollen from the birch tree. Apparently birch pollen coming into contact with the carrot plant creates a condition in which the carrot becomes an allergen to some people. Many cities and towns in Europe, especially northern Europe, have large numbers of birch trees. Much more so than is the case in North America. The species of birch may play a role as well, although there is little documentation regarding this possibility. In any event, a carrot allergy is something that some Europeans are rightfully concerned about, though most Americans need not be particularly concerned about.

Symptoms of Carrot Allergy

Symptoms of a carrot allergy can include itching, especially in the mouth and throat, and hives. Itchy or watery eyes are also one of the more common symptoms, as is a coughing or wheezing spell. In more severe cases, an asthmatic attack may occur, and in the most extreme situations a person may go into anaphylactic shock, an emergency situation which can be life-threatening.

Toxicity Vs. Carrot Allergy

In this country we are more apt to hear about cases of carrot toxicity rather than carrot allergy, although this too is rather rare. Carrot toxicity usually corresponds to an overdose of vitamin A, which the carrot is particularly rich in. An excess of beta carotene in our system, which the carrot is also rich in and well known for, can also be bad, the skin can turn orange, and even yellow. The condition is temporary if ingestion of carrots is halted, but the orange or yellow skin is not a sign of health, but rather is a warning of too much toxicity in the body. This condition, called carotenemia, indicates the presence of toxins in the liver, something you neither want nor need.

Have A Carrot For Lunch 

For 99% of us, carrots are an excellent part of our diet, full of good nutrients and many other beneficial compounds. Carrots in fact are one of the few vegetables which are just as healthy cooked as they are when eaten raw. While eating raw carrots is good for us, our digestive system can't process all the nutrients in a raw carrot efficiently. Cooking the carrot resolves this problem, in part anyway. Most of us never eat enough carrots, raw or cooked, or drink enough carrot juice, to ever run the risk of overdosing on vitamin A, or having a toxic reaction of any kind occur, and most of us never will have to worry about suffering from the effects of a carrot allergy.

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