Some foods may trigger pollen allergy symptoms

Enjoying the Sun

Spring is here a bit early this year. Personally, I’m not complaining because I love driving my Mini Cooper convertible with the top down. But for some, this early record-breaking warm weather, has caused trees, flowers and other plants to bloom earlier than usual and triggered their allergies—Atlanta experienced a record-high pollen count of just under 9,400 last week. And, with this year’s allergy season projected to be lengthy and more severe than ever, runny noses, itchy eyes and ringing ears will be aggravating everyone longer.

If you have pollen allergies, you may not be aware that some foods might trigger your symptoms. In fact, up to 70% of the more than 60 million American nasal allergy sufferers experience cross-reactions after eating certain foods. In most instances, it’sfresh fruit, certain seeds and nuts, and raw, uncooked vegetables that cause the reactions.

Have you ever noticed that your throat becomes itchy or tingly after eating an apple or celery? Or that the roof of your mouth is scratchy? Or that your eyes are watery or itchy?

This reaction, which can happen immediately or more than an hour later, is called Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). This cross-reactivity happens when the immune system confuses the proteins in the food with the protein in the pollen and causes an allergic reaction or makes your symptoms worse. This can happen any time of the year, but is most prevalent during pollen season.

Melons can trigger some pollen allergies

Which foods should you avoid?

It depends on your pollen allergy, but most of the foods that cause a pollen-like allergic reaction are usually consumed in the fresh or raw state. Cooking the food changes its composition, so it may also change the properties that trigger a reaction, making it edible and non-reactive for you.

If you’re allergic to Birch Pollen, you should avoid:

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Chicory
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Fig
  • Hazelnuts
  • Kiwi
  • Nectarine
  • Parsley
  • Parsnips
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Plums
  • Potatoes
  • Prunes
  • Soy
  • Strawberry
  • Wheat

If you’re allergic to Ragweed pollen, avoid:

  • Artichoke
  • Bananas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Chamomile tea
  • Dandelions
  • Echinacea tea
  • Cucumber
  • Green Pepper
  • Hibiscus tea
  • Honey (wildflower)
  • Honeydew
  • Paprika
  • Tomatoes
  • Sunflower seeds/oil
  • Watermelon
  • Zucchini

If you’re allergic to Grasses, avoid:

  • Celery
  • Figs
  • Kiwi
  • Melon
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

If you’re allergic to Mugwort pollen, avoid:

  • Anise seeds
  • Apples
  • Caraway seeds
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Kiwi
  • Parsley
  • Peanuts
  • Peppers
  • Sunflower

If you’re allergic to Alder pollen, avoid:

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Parsley
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries

Additionally, cross-reactivity (not OAS) can occur between latex allergies and the following foods:

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Bell Pepper
  • Celery
  • Chestnut
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Papaya
  • Passion Fruit
  • Potato
  • Tomato

Some hay fever/pollen allergy sufferers are lucky not to experience adverse reactions from any or all of these foods. However, with any food, always pay attention to what you’re eating and how it makes you feel, especially during pollen season.


  • katie
    Posted April 22, 2015 6:51 pm 0Likes

    what to eat if you have a pollen reaction

  • Tracy Stuckrath
    Posted August 19, 2015 10:51 am 0Likes

    Katie, do you have pollen allergies? If so, to what?

  • denise gordon
    Posted May 18, 2016 1:38 pm 0Likes

    I suffer from sensitivities to EVERYTHING on this list above. It is very difficult to find nutritious food to eat. No corn soy nuts grains and many vegetables and some meats. WHAT CAN I EAT??

  • Tracy Stuckrath
    Posted May 23, 2016 5:04 pm 0Likes

    It is definitely a challenge to find foods to eat when you have a large list on your sensitivity/allergen list. Based on your list, it sounds like you could easily follow the Paleo diet. Here is a very short description of the diet. It does focus on grass-fed beef and chicken and wild-caught fish. You could also check out a couple of these sites to see if you can find things you like:

    Let me know how it goes.


  • Jeannie
    Posted June 22, 2016 2:25 pm 0Likes

    Banana, and kiwi make my mouth itch. Those store bought “soft” cookies do the same thing. What ingredient in the cookies might be causing the reaction?

  • Tracy Stuckrath
    Posted June 23, 2016 10:32 pm 0Likes

    Jean, would need to see the ingredient list of the cookies to try to figure it out.

  • Gwen
    Posted April 19, 2017 10:48 am 0Likes

    I am allegeric to maple tree pollen, what foods should I not eat?

  • TJ Storey
    Posted June 1, 2017 6:53 pm 0Likes

    What foods should you avoid if you have allergen reactions to Cottonwood trees fluff?

  • Bettina
    Posted June 7, 2017 2:36 am 0Likes

    Stacy, thank you for this. I suffer from eczema and recently went GF. I am eating fruits, veggies, rice, fish and a little chicken. My skin has gotten better but not 100%. I looked at an old allergy test, I’m allergic to grass as well as melons, peaches and watermelon (same fruits listed to avoid if you have a grass allergy). This article will be super helpful as I refine my diet. Thank you for your insight and spring is the worse for me! I’m allergic to grass, dust mites, pollen, trees etc!

  • Tracy Stuckrath
    Posted June 27, 2017 8:26 am 0Likes

    Bettina, I’m glad you’ve gotten some relief. It is a challenge to figure it all out. I also rely a lot on alternative medicine practitioners to help me figure it out—kinesiologist, naturopath, acupuncturist. Best of luck!

  • Tracy Stuckrath
    Posted June 27, 2017 8:29 am 0Likes

    TJ, I’ve searched quite a few places to see what I could find on cottonwood tree fluff, but have not had any luck in seeing a cross-reactive information. If it is a severe allergy, I’d check in with an allergist as well as consult with alternative medical practitioners like naturopath, kinesiologist, acupuncturist to see if they can find anything.

  • Julie M.
    Posted July 9, 2017 12:59 pm 0Likes

    Bettina — I had horrible eczema on my hands for years. I found out I had several food allergies, but was told that even though I was somewhat allergic to dairy, I could still eat butter. Months later, I had quit all dairy but buter, and was craving butter and eating a lot of it every day. Then I read an allergy book that says if you crave something and feel like you can’t live without it, you may be allergic, and you should stop eating that food. I quit the butter….. and 48 hours later, I woke up in the morning with NO EZCEMA on my hands for the first time in years. Two years later and it hasn’t come back! Turns out my friend’s husband had the same experience. Try cutting out dairy for awhile.

  • blueFrosted-flake
    Posted September 10, 2017 1:37 am 0Likes

    I’m allergic to all pollen and grass, feathers, dust and dust mites, etc.
    I can easily say that a wide range of raw vegetables, nuts and fruits will trigger a reaction, especially chamomile tea and even when I peel potatoes!

  • sacagawea blackfoot
    Posted October 24, 2017 12:47 pm 0Likes

    see a doctor. this person is not a doctor.

  • Chrissy
    Posted November 7, 2017 2:06 pm 0Likes

    I just found this I’m having reactions to every food to did you ever find an answer

  • Lynda
    Posted February 9, 2018 6:05 pm 0Likes

    the only thing I have really found is a site

    it say that maple tree alleries don’t share reaction-causing proteins with foods

  • Linda Doyle
    Posted February 24, 2018 11:15 pm 0Likes

    @blueFrosted-flake Look at which is a pretty good website and in it, he (Dr. Axe) wrote an article called “The ONE drink that allergy suffers should avoid” and by “allergy” he explained he meant pollen/ragweed and the one drink was Chamomile tea. I would add to that rooibos tea which I started drinking last summer. ALL I drink is tea and I drink a ton (a gallon/day) and usually mix 2-3 loose types together. But I really liked the flavor of the rooibos so I went heavy with that-and had the worst allergy season ever. I never got over it, even when it began to snow so I looked at what was in the rooibos tea that I purchase from a company that’s family owned (so, kinda small) and the ingredients for their “Rooibos Relief” (they have 2 other rooibos teas) was, well, rooibos which is a plant/shrub grown only in S. Africa and then the rest was honeybush herbal tea, Rose buds and petals and natural rose flowers. So I was drinking (and drinking a lot) of exactly what causes my allergies. I did contact the company and they actually told me about OAS (they didn’t use the name but acknowledged that there can be a cross reaction that Tracy wrote about). They sent me another bag of a different blend of rooibos that they make sell but doesn’t have the honey bush and roses. Instead, it has cinnamon and citrus and It still has the rooibos but that doesn’t seem to be the culprit. It was the other plants.

  • Manya
    Posted July 19, 2018 1:32 am 0Likes

    Hi There
    I am allergic to Lamb’s quarter Pollen , what all things I need to avoid. Can you please guide me , I have no information about it .

  • Soda
    Posted August 3, 2018 9:34 pm 0Likes

    Can you eat salmon when you’re allergic to grass and trees

  • mar
    Posted August 27, 2018 6:00 pm 0Likes

    i’ve had allergies all my life .. but the food allergies started when i was 9 with bananas.. then it hit me hard when i turned 16 with everything on the list above .. i’ve had my mouth swell ..face swell and i almost died drinking a sip of welches grape juice after my body instantly rejected it by throwing up .. breathing became difficult and my lips turned purple.. my throat had a pin hole of air … i thought i was alone in this battle .. if i couldn’t eat meat i’d wither away

  • Karen Camp
    Posted September 12, 2018 11:04 am 0Likes

    Have you ever heard of anyone with Magazine print allergies? I sneeze terribly and get stuffy when I read magazines and sometimes newspapers.. I have other seasonal allergies as well. Have never been tested for food allergies.

  • Nyarko Prince
    Posted November 17, 2018 1:11 am 0Likes

    If you are allergic to ragweed food like banana, does it means you have to stop eating all the list food under ragweed?

  • JCs
    Posted December 2, 2018 10:11 am 0Likes

    Is Plantain allergy same as banana allergy and same pollen families? I am allergic to most of the pollens listed only thing I can eat is tomatoes, potatoes as in frnech fries and plaintains- Allergic to rest especially seeds and peanuts and seafood and wheat- TY !

  • Laura
    Posted December 28, 2018 2:32 am 0Likes

    I break out in hives from magazine and newspaper ink

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