May 15th, 2013
You’re out with friends, need to order, and on a diet. Maybe you’re going gluten free or simply counting calories. What better than a watermelon fruit plate!
Any dieter will tell you that the key to losing weight is controlling your intake and not feeling hungry. Watermelon does both. It is filling and can taste awesome.
And, yes, watermelon is rated an “A” for its nutritional grade. It is low calorie, high in vitamin C, and contains vitamin A. It is said to lower blood pressure, according to the American Journal of Hypertension, because it can improve blood flow through the aorta. And for men, the makeup of watermelon is also said to help with erectile dysfunction. And if all that were not enough, this miracle food, watermelon, is also a good source of lycopene. Although not conclusive, it is believed that lycopene may slow down or even prevent cancer.
But Not So Fast – The Potentially Fatal Watermelon Allergy
After enjoying watermelon, you notice your face is getting really round and your neck is getting thicker. Maybe a bout of diarrhea too? It may not be a coincidence, or your imagination.
Nobody expects it from fruit. Dairy, yes; eggs, yes but not fruit. Watermelon is a serious allergy food. It’s not the pesticides on the skin – but it may be the pollen on the rind, and the fruit itself. Reactions can vary from mild to life threatening.
Information in International Archives of Allergy and Immunology (2009 edition) claims that the enzymes in watermelon are allergens; and that allergies to latex, celery, cucumber and/or carrots are related to a watermelon allergy.
Watermelon allergy is also associated with ragweed. About 50% of the people with a watermelon allergy are also allergic to ragweed. Watermelon allergy is considered by some to be a part of oral allergy syndrome. The syndrome is classified as an allergy to pollen, such as that from ragweed. Watermelon and foods like it can carry traces of ragweed pollen, and thus provoke a reaction. This allergen connection may be true for any skinned fruit grown in an exposed environment.
Oral allergy syndrome reactions primarily affect your mouth, tongue and throat which can itch or swell after ingesting the allergen. In severe cases this can adversely impact breathing.
If You Think You Have This Food Allergy
Try a different approach to dieting, maybe gluten free and dairy free, and Stay Away From other melons and produce, such as honeydew, because they can contain the same allergens as watermelon. If you are allergic to watermelon, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology advises that you avoid bananas, celery, oranges, papaya, tomatoes, kiwi, peaches and avocados – in other words the fruit plate – because they may carry traces of ragweed pollen.