Do your allergies cross-react?

Do your allergies cross-react? If you are allergic to celery will you have a carrot allergy? If you are allergic to ragweed will you have a zucchini allergy?

Random allergies explained:

Have you ever experienced a random allergy? I have and its scary wondering if it will happen again. Its also confusing how allergies to foods can just pop up with no warning! I used to think these cross-reacting allergies were just a coincidence, but little did I know there was a actually a direct link between the foods I was eating or pollen I was breathing.

Cross-reactions can be confusing but a little knowledge can guide you in the right direction (or food!). There are hundreds of combinations and food allergies and its impossible to figure out each person’s allergies. Even for myself, my allergies can slightly vary weekly and it gets frustrating. I try one thing and am fine, but the next month I suddenly start having a runny nose, fluid retention, mood swings, etc. Do you feel the same way?

What if I told you there may be a reason behind all this confusion? It took me years of trial and error and having allergic reactions to finally connect the dots. Read about my recent struggles here. After I finally started cracking open the books and research articles and skimming over various plant family names, I think I figured out the big picture out. It did not seem so random anymore.

To make it simple, Im going to break it down into 2 categories: OAS (oral allergy syndrome) and food families.


Oral allergy syndrom

OAS (oral allergy syndrome): OAS is a common name for having an allergic reaction to a food (ex. zucchini) that cross-reacts with a plant (ex. ragweed). Typically people only report a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth or extra mucus. I find that the symptoms are not limited to that and you can experience anything really. Some common symptoms for me are swelling, fluid retention, irritability, swollen eyes, heavy mucus in the throat, excess hunger or nausea, and hives.

What about breathing in the food vapors or pollen? Yes its possible to still have an allergic reaction to cross-reaction foods even if you don’t eat it. I know Im extra sensitive, but this is not uncommon. When its late August and the ragweed pollen count is sky high (you are breathing in the allergens), it is more likely for you to react to the cross reacting foods such as lettuce, zucchini, sunflower, etc.

Actually for some people this is the only time they get cross-reacting food and pollen allergies. When the pollen count for that particular pollen goes down then you may be able to eat the food with no problem (most people can). For some, cooking the food allows then to eat it because it denatures the proteins. You have to figure out how sensitive your body is.


Most of these combinations are not always predictable so its nice to have list handy. The reason why certain foods and plants cross-react is because the proteins in the food are similar to the proteins in the plant. The body gets confused so instead of eating a zucchini, it thinks its eating ragweed! Yikes!


Cross-eacting food list:

Orange: cane sugar, mesquite

Celery: tomato, potato, tobacco, sage, mugwart, carrot

Milk: mint, elm

Beef: bakers yeast, brewers yeast, cedar, (grass or corn- their feed matters here). Im allergic to grass and beef.

Pork: black pepper, poisin icy, oak, sumac

Dust: seafood, nuts, shrimp, lobster, crab, squid, scallops, clams, oysters, mussels, snails, cockroaches, silverfish, moths, mosquitos, peanuts

Pecan: corn, bananas

Ragweed: egg, milk, mint, melons, bananas, lettuce, zuchinni, chamomile, sunflower seeds, sunflower family tomatoes, milk thistle

Almonds: hazelnut, brazil nut, walnut, pecan, pollens

Peanut: soy beans, all members of lugume family, grass, clover, broccoli, carrots, celery, peppers, apples, melons, peaches, chestnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, anise, coriander, cumin, fennel, parsley, rosemary, sage

Mold: cheese, mushrooms, truffles, high glutamate foods- fermented foods

Latex: bananas, avocado, chestnuts, kiwi, poinsettia plants, shea butter, tomatoes, potatoes, celery, cherries, melons apple, carrot, celery, papaya, pear, mango, sweet pepper, peach, rye, cayenne pepper, plum, wheat, shellfish, hazelnut, sunflower seed, pineapple, walnut, citrus fruit, strawberry, soybean, coconut, fig, peanut, chick pea, grape, buckwheat, castor bean, apricot, dill, lychee, passion fruit, oregano, zucchini, nectarine, sage, persimmon, cucumber, ginger, dandelion

Birch tree: apples, apricots, cherries, kiwi, nectarine, peaches, pears, plums, tomatoes, carrots, celery, green peppers, parsnips, peas, potatoes, anise, caraway, cumin, dill, fennel, parsley, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, potatoes, persimmon, soy, wheat, herbs and spices

Grass: lettuce, kiwi, melon, organs, tomatoes, celery, potato, watermelon, cherry, wheat, rye, barley, peaches

Alder tree: celery, pears, apples, almonds, cherries, hazelnuts, peaches, parsley, herbs and spices

Gluten: rye, barley, spelt, polish wheat, oats, buckwheat, sorghum, millet, amaranth, quinoa, corn, rice, potato, hemp, teff, soy, milk ( alpha casein, beta casein, casomorphin, butyrophillin, whey protein), chocolate, yeast, coffee, sesame, tapioca, egg

Mugwart: celery, carrot, melon, parsnip, green pepper, watermelon, apple, chamomile, hazelnut, parsley, peanut, kiwi, sunflower, herbs and spices


*herbs and spices: anise, basil, caraway, dill, lovage, marjoram, oregano, paprika, pepper, tarragon, thyme, wormwood, fennel, coriander, cumin

Food Family

Food Families: A food family is a classification of a plant. If you look at the two pictures below (source Wikipedia) you will see on the left hand side lists many names starting with Kingdom, Clade, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. What you are looking for is Family. Looking under the Family section is specific enough, but not too specific.


You may need to click around to find the latin names or species ranking for the plant to find exactly the right Family its in. I first typed in “zucchini” and from there look for its Species name which is Cucurbita pepo. I then type in Cucurbita pepo and now I can see all the rankings for these foods, including the Family. The family name is Cucurbitaceae (highlighted in yellow in picture above). From there you can find what foods and plants are in that Family category.

Foods in the same Family share a similar molecule structure inside and can cause you to react to several or all foods in that Family. As an example: I’m allergic to all foods in the Cucurbita pepo category. I’m allergic to most of the foods in Apiaceae (parsley family), but can eat cilantro. So classifying your foods in Families is not going to be black and white, but it will narrow your cross-reacting allergies significantly. Sorry if this is confusing, but this is how I did most my research and I want you to know how to do this for any other foods.

I personally don’t like using all the Latin names because it confuses me. Instead I give the family a name that seems more appropriate. Below I will list the food families and the foods included in each.

Food Families:


  • Carrots
  • Parsley
  • Angelica
  • Anise
  • Caraway
  • Celery
  • Coriander
  • Cilantro
  • Cumin
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip
  • Celery seed


  • Sarsaparilla
  • Onion
  • Chives
  • Leeks
  • Shallots
  • Green onions
  • Garlic
  • Lily
  • Aleo
  • Asparagus


  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Tangerine
  • Kumquat
  • Orange


  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Mustard
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Turnip
  • Radish
  • Daikon
  • Horse radish
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Collard greens
  • kale
  • watercress
  • rutabaga
  • kohlrabi


  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Sage
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • savoury


  • Buckwheat
  • Rhubarb


  • Juniper berries
  • Juniper tree
  • Pine nut


  • Cantaloupe
  • Cucumber
  • Watermelon
  • Honeydew
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Chamomile
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash


  • Sassafras
  • Cinnamon
  • Bay leaf
  • Avocado
  • Laurel
  • saffron


  • Lettauce
  • yarrow
  • Chicory
  • Endive
  • Artichoke
  • Dandelion
  • Sunflower seed/oil
  • tarragon

Pea (legume):

  • Pea
  • Black eyed pes
  • Peanut
  • ALL Beans
  • Green beans
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Soy bean
  • Licorice
  • Snow peas
  • Lentils
  • Guar gum
  • Couscous
  • Carob
  • Fenugreek
  • Chickpeas
  • Tofu
  • Bean sprouts
  • Senna


  • beet
  • beet sugar
  • spinach
  • swish chard
  • lambs quarters
  • thistle


  • brandy
  • champagne
  • crème of tartar
  • grapes
  • rasin
  • wine
  • whine vinegar


  • grains
  • wheat
  • corn
  • rice
  • oats
  • barley
  • rye
  • wild rice
  • brown cane sugar
  • molasses
  • bamboo
  • Cereal grains


  • coconut
  • date


  • allspice
  • clove
  • guava


  • tomato
  • potato
  • peppers
  • eggplant
  • tobacco
  • cayenne
  • papriks
  • pimento
  • chili pepper
  • all peppers- not “black and white”


  • okra
  • cottonseed flour


  • yeast
  • mushroom
  • antibiotics

Cola nut:

  • chocolate
  • cocoa
  • cola


  • arrowroot
  • cardamom
  • ginger
  • turmeric


  • apple
  • pear
  • quince
  • rose family
  • apple cider
  • apple vingegar
  • pectin


  • cactus
  • prickly pear
  • yequila


  • walnut
  • pecan
  • hicory nut
  • butternut
  • black walnut


  • Almonds
  • Plums
  • Peach
  • Apricot
  • Cherry
  • nectarine


  • rose
  • strawberry
  • blackberry
  • raspberry
  • longanberry
  • youngberry
  • boysenberry
  • (apple family)


  • blueberry
  • cranberry
  • huckleberry
  • wintergreen


  • cashew
  • pistachio
  • mango
  • capers


  • crab
  • crayfish
  • lobster
  • prawns
  • shrimp


  • clam
  • mussel
  • oyster
  • scallop
  • squid


Freshwater fish:

  • bass
  • catfish
  • croaker
  • perch
  • pike
  • salmon
  • smelt
  • trout
  • whitefish

Saltwater fish:

  • bass
  • cod
  • flunder
  • herrine
  • mackerel
  • mullet
  • salmon


What to do about your allergies?

If you suffer a wide range of allergies and its overwhelming to you, I think you need some major gut healing! Doctors may tell you, “its normal.” or “Just have to take this and that and you will be better.” or “Just avoid ____” .  Did you know allergies are just a symptom that something else is wrong?
I am working on healing my gut too. The GAPS diet can seal up your “leaky gut” and eventually reduce your food and environmental allergies. You will be amazed.
To get started, read the GAPS book or buy the 30 days of intro Ebook. Next check out my GAPS recipes and GAPS articles. Read up on coffee enemas because your body will need some liver support (another common remedy for allergies) and an outlet for all the toxins.
NAET allergy elimination technique is also a noninvasive way to get rid of your allergies for-good using meridians and acupressure. I had it done for about 48 treatments and saw amazing results. I am no longer allergic to many things thanks to NAET. Read about NAET here.
For acute allergic reactions, take a detoxing clay bath and drink powdered activated charcoal. They both work internally and externally to absorb the allergens in your system.


Here is a chart you can refer to help you remember!


~Stay Gutsy, Caroline












disclosure 3


  1. Okay, so pretty much I shouldn’t eat anything… Ever. Lol. I seriously need to go on GAPS.

  2. Hi Caroline, I just found your post on Fat Tuesday and had to stop by. Great, thorough post! I have OAS too and blog about it. I’ve also got a book coming out very soon on it. If you’d like to check it out, you can find out more info here: http://poorandglutenfree.blogspot.com/2013/10/an-oral-allergy-syndrome-cookbook.html

  3. Very interesting read! I have had a peanut allergy since birth (first reaction around 1 week old, via breast milk) this developed into an allergy to all nuts. Then I realised 6 years ago I had oral allergy syndrome after having hay fever for a long time (all related to Birch tree allergy). But also allergic to horses, sweat, funny chemicals.. so a topic I am very interested in! I will continue to go through your blog and learn more! Thank you for your help and good luck with your journey! Katherine, 26, UK.

  4. Karen Moreland says

    Thanks for posting this. I have a lot of random food allergies that I acquired when pregnant with my second child and my list of food allergies keeps growing (mint, lavender, aloe, stevia, chicory, dandelion, meadowsweet, red clover, green/white/black tea, peruvian balsam, hemp oil, avocado, peaches, licorice, the list goes on). It seems I’ve added a new allergen daily lately! I get throat swelling and thick mucus and difficulty breathing with all of these. I visited an allergist recently and they tested me for 73 environmental allergens and I reacted strongly to all but about 5 of them! I was shocked! The doctor told me it was likely my hormonal change during pregnancy as well as moving here to Tennessee about 15 years ago and also age (I’m close to 40). She said those 3 things can really change a person’s allergy profile. And while that may be true, I don’t want to accept just “living with avoidance” forever! I have been following the plant families since this all started and trying to connect the dots for myself, much like you have. Thanks for the info, I’m interested in checking out the GAPS diet to see if it’s doable.

Speak Your Mind