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Cashew & Mango Allergies

By Tricia Ballad

Food allergies affect as many as 15 million people in the United States, including 6 million children, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. The occurrence of peanut and tree nut allergies seems to have tripled between 1997 and 2008. Whether this increase is due to better diagnoses or an actual increase in food-allergic individuals is not clear.

Nut Allergy

Tree nuts are one of the top eight allergens that are responsible for 90 percent of all allergic reactions. Peanuts, one of the other common allergens, are legumes and are not related to tree nuts. Many people who are allergic to tree nuts can tolerate peanuts without problems, although some doctors advise their patients to avoid both tree nuts and peanuts to discourage developing a cross-sensitivity.

Nut Families

A person who is allergic to cashews may not react to other types of nuts, such as walnuts or chestnuts. The primary nut families are walnuts and pecans, pistachios and cashews, Brazil nuts, beechnuts and chestnuts, hazelnuts and filberts, almonds and macadamia nuts. Having an allergic reaction to one nut family does not necessarily mean you are allergic to all nuts, but you must avoid all exposure to members of the specific nut family to which you reacted previously. Most allergists advise their nut allergic patients to avoid all tree nuts.

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Mango

Mango is the fruit of a large evergreen that grows primarily in tropical and subtropical regions. Their flavor is sometimes described as a cross between a peach and a pineapple. Mango trees are members of the same botanical family as pistachios and cashews. Eating the mango fruit can trigger allergic reactions in people who are allergic to cashews and pistachios.

Should You Avoid Mango?

Your allergist is your best source of information on foods you should avoid based on your allergy profile. Many allergists advise their patients that the best way to avoid a life-threatening allergic reaction is to discontinue all contact with any type of nuts. If you have had an allergic reaction to other members of the mango family, such as cashews or pistachios, you should avoid mangos as well. If you are allergic to other types of nuts and are not sure if you are allergic to cashews or pistachios, ask your allergist for advice. Your allergist may perform a skin prick or blood test to determine whether you are allergic to members of the mango and cashew family.

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