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Here's Why Your Throat Gets Itchy After Eating Apples

Whenever I eat apples, people always glare at me. Why the abrupt interest in my snacking habits? It might be because every time I eat this fiber-rich fruit, I'm impulsively forced to scratch my throat by making a noise that sounds like a folk musician strumming sewing thimbles on a washboard.
woman eating apple

I've never been able to eat an apple without my throat feeling itchy. Until recently, I didn't think much of it. I'd just continue to munch and deal with the uncomfortable side effects. (I mean, who doesn't want to keep the doctor away?)

It wasn't until I was doing research on what foods you should avoid eating during spring allergy season that I found a solution to a problem I didn't realize I had: I was suffering from Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS).

Anywhere between 50 and 75 percent of adults who suffer from pollen allergies will also experience some degree of OAS, in which your mouth and throat become itchy after eating certain foods, which include apples, cherries, peaches, kiwi, carrots, celery, almonds, and bananas. Luckily, people typically only experience discomfort immediately after eating the food, and it rarely results in life-threatening anaphylaxis. (If your symptoms last longer than an hour, you should consult your doctor.)

Unlike seasonal pollen allergies, OAS can affect you anytime of the year. Interestingly, if you eat foods that cause OAS during allergy season, it can actually worsen your allergy symptoms. So be sure to avoid those apples and bananas when pollen counts are high.

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If you can't live without an apple a day, The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) recommends a couple options: Cooking the fruit, either by baking or microwaving, will neutralize the offending proteins that cause irritation. Another alternative is to peel the produce, as the reactive protein is concentrated in the skin. The downside to this option is that you often lose the digestion-slowing benefits of the fruit's fiber.

The Eat This! fix? Pair your apple with some peanut butter. As one of our 29 Best-Ever Proteins for Weight Loss, peanut butter will provide enough healthy fats and protein to help your body digest the fruit sugars slowly, giving you an even-keeled energy boost.


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Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is a senior editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more