photo credit flickr creative commons
I love, love, love avocado. And guacamole. However, within 30 minutes of eating avocado, I get a stabbing migraine headache.
The same type of stabbing migraine I get when I eat a banana. I get other symptoms too but it has been such a long time since I last indulged in those foods I can’t recall all the symptoms. I do know that I could live with them; it’s that migraine that keeps me away from the foods.
Last week when I saw my Functional Medicine doctor (more on that appointment in a future post–it was great), I mentioned my inability to eat an avocado and she said “that is because you have a latex allergy: avocado, figs, banana, chestnut and kiwi are cross-reactive foods”.
To which I replied “Oh, I can’t eat any of those foods without getting a migraine”.
She told me to look at the full list of latex cross-reactive foods because there would probably be more on the list that are migraine triggers for me, and she is correct: tomatoes, white potatoes (migraine, migraine).
I am about to oversimplify a super complex issue: Cross Reactive Foods and Histamine Response.
There are proteins in latex that I react to, I break out in a rash that is painful.
Similarly, there are proteins in certain fruits and vegetables that have the same or very similar build of the protein pattern in latex. When I eat those fruits or veggies, my body recognizes the proteins and sends histamine to protect me from what it thinks is a harmful invader. It is not that I have a true allergy to those foods, I have a sensitivity to them and the excess histamine seems to trigger a migraine in me.
Here is the list of foods that are cross-reactive with latex allergies/sensitivities
*People who have latex allergies/sensitivities won’t react to all of these foods, but will probably react to at least one or more of them
Banana, Avocado, Kiwi, Chestnut
Apple, Carrot, Celery, Papaya, Potato, Tomato, Melons
Undetermined Level of Prevalence
Pear, Mango, Sweet Pepper, Peach, Rye, Cayenne Pepper, Plum, Wheat, Shellfish, Cherry, Hazelnut, Sunflower Seed, Pineapple, Walnut, Citrus Fruits, Strawberry, Soybean, Coconut, Fig, Peanut, Chick Pea, Grape, Buckwheat, Castor Bean, Apricot, Dill, Lychee, Passion, Fruit, Oregano Zucchini, Nectarine, Sage, Persimmon
Looking at that list, these are the foods that I know I have trouble with:
banana, avocado, chestnut, white potato, tomato, wheat, shellfish, cherry, hazelnut, sunflower seed, pineapple, walnut, some citrus fruit, strawberry, soybean, fig, peanut, grapes
I can say that with grapes, lemon and cherries—I can tolerate them if my “histamine bucket” is not too full.
By that, I mean that if other triggers for histamine such as environmental (seasonal allergies), hormonal levels, other food sensitivities are not too high than I can eat those foods.
There are people who have successfully added foods back into their diet after improving gut health, living on a rotation diet and using other methods to lower histamine bucket that I will write about in future posts.
I will also write future posts about histamine and migraines because there is a longer list of foods to avoid if histamine intolerance is an issue for you.
I had to dedicate a post to my beloved avocado after learning that it is a cross-reactive food with latex…and it is an explanation for why I react to some really yummy, healthy foods.
List of cross-reactive foods courtesy of: LatexAllergyResource.org