Can legumes cause allergies?

Food allergies include reactions to dairy products, nuts, wheat, soy, shellfish or fish. Legumes include all peanut and soy allergies including lentils, beans and licorice products. It is important to note that these allergies are difficult to manage since various foods contain soy or peanut oil or manufactured on equipment that also processed soy or peanut-based products. The management of legume allergy requires the individual to carefully read the labels and strict monitoring of the diet.

What are food allergies?

A food allergy to legumes occurs once the immune system of the body perceives a food as a threat and attempts to fight it off. As a reaction to the presence of the allergen, the immune system generates antibodies that connect to specific types of cells. These antibodies cause these cells to generate certain chemicals that trigger the allergic symptoms.

The symptoms manifest as the individual eats and digests the food, usually in places where the food came in contact with the body. The reactions typically start in the mouth and move to the stomach as the food is being digested and eventually reaches the bloodstream and skin as it is spread throughout the body.


The usual symptoms include tingling in the throat, hives, stomach cramps and anaphylaxis.

Peanut allergy

As a legume, peanuts are known to cause serious allergic reactions with complications that can result to death. Individuals to who allergic to peanuts can experience a reaction within minutes of eating, touching or breathing in air contaminated by peanut products.

The usual symptoms include tingling in the throat, hives, stomach cramps and anaphylaxis. Take note that anaphylaxis is a severe reaction that includes low blood pressure and wheezing. A minor attack can be managed with antihistamines while severe reactions require an injection of epinephrine.

Soybean allergy

This type of legume allergy is difficult to prevent since soybeans are utilized as product fillers in various processed foods. Reactions to soy allergy are less severe than the peanut allergies, thus anaphylaxis is rare. The usual reactions include wheezing, hives, dizziness and swelling of the tongue and throat. The symptoms typically manifest within a few minutes of consuming a soy-based product and can be managed with antihistamines.

What are foods that contain legumes?

Even though it sounds easy to avoid soybeans, peanuts and other legumes, avoiding foods made out of their oils can be difficult. With this in mind, it is vital to carefully read all the food labels in order to avoid the allergen.

Peanuts are often present in candies, cookies and ethnic foods in Chinese, African or Thai cuisine. Once an individual ends up with severe allergic reactions, it is ideal to avoid these foods in parties or in restaurants.

The individual should also avoid foods that contain ingredients such as vegetable protein or hydrolyzed plant. Soybean oil is found in various Asian dishes, tofu and vegetable broth. Remember that soy is often referred to as plant protein, vegetable protein, vegetable starch and vegetable gum. In addition, the individual can also avoid legume-based products by eating fresh meat and vegetables as well as avoiding processed or canned foods.


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