Nuts are small, but they are brilliant suppliers of energy and nutrients, containing a high concentration of health-promoting ingredients such as unsaturated fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids, dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Nuts usually have a high fat content; however they also contain lots of mono and
poly-unsaturated fatty acids which can have a positive impact on cholesterol levels. In addition, some nuts – not all – are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are said to have a positive impact on our cardiovascular system. Besides all the health-related aspects, they simply taste delicious.
However, there are some healthy energy suppliers that can frequently cause problems:
- Immediate allergy: Peanut, hazelnut, walnut
- Delayed food allergy: Almond, macadamia, cashew nut, hazelnut
- Histamine intolerance: Cashew nut, walnut
If you take a look at which processed foods actually contain nuts, you will quickly discover that the list is quite long. Below are a few foods you should be particularly careful about buying:
- Trail mixes, muesli
- Baked goods: Cakes, biscuits and even some types of bread contain nuts
- Fillings in pasta, e.g. tortellini
- Cheese or cold cuts, salads, pastries
- Spreads: Nut-nougat creams, vegetarian spreads
- Sweet things: Marzipan, nougat, brittle, chocolate, chocolate and muesli bars, pralines, ice cream, pudding
- Some oils can also be produced from nuts
The most frequent triggers of food allergies (known as the 14 major allergens) must be listed in the ingredients lists of foods. This also includes nuts!
Read through the food labels carefully. Pay attention to terms such as “nuts…”, “marzipan” or “nougat”. Exercise caution when you see “May contain traces of …”. In the event of a nut allergy (IgE-mediated), traces of nuts are enough to trigger an allergic reaction. In the case of unpacked foods such as baked goods, ask the seller whether the products contain nuts.
What nut alternatives are there?
If you do not tolerate one type of nut, this does not necessarily mean that all types can cause problems. There are many different types and alternatives. Coconut, for example, is very well tolerated by most allergy sufferers.
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Apricot kernels (sweet)