According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, some countries, like China, have a lower incidence of peanut allergy than the United States. In China, peanuts are usually fried or boiled, but in the U.S., they are often dry roasted.
Does the manner of preparing peanuts affect their allergic properties?
In a study conducted by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, two different types of peanuts grown in the U.S. were roasted, boiled, or fried. It is believed that the protein in the peanut legume is the cause of peanut allergy, so scientists looked at the protein in peanuts cooked three different ways.
The fried and boiled peanuts had less of the allergen responsible for peanut allergy symptoms in people allergic to peanuts. There was significantly less lgE-binding in the fried and boiled peanuts. The amount of protein in all three ways of preparing peanuts was similar, though.
This study suggests that roasting must increase the allergic property of peanut proteins. This study also indicates why Chinese people seldom have peanut allergies while they are more common among Americans.
Can people with peanut allergies eat fried or boiled peanuts?
Anyone who is allergic to peanuts should consult his or her allergist before eating raw green peanuts. Even if the peanuts are fried or boiled, peanut allergy symptoms may occur and can be very serious and result in life-threatening anaphylaxis. Most allergists believe it is too risky to try without being in a medical setting where a person can be monitored.
Coconut and peanut allergy
Coconut, the seed of a drupaceous fruit, has typically not been restricted in the diets of people with tree nut allergy. However, in October of 2006, the FDA began identifying coconut as a tree nut. The available medical literature contains documentation of a small number of allergic reactions to coconut; most occurred in people who were not allergic to other tree nuts. Ask your doctor if you need to avoid coconut.
Fresh, raw green peanuts may be contaminated with a mold, Aspergillus flavus, that releases a toxic substance
Even those without peanut allergies should be careful about eating fresh, raw green peanuts. This is because the toxin aflatoxin is released if there is mold on the green peanuts. They should be fresh when eaten to avoid mold and this toxin.
People with peanut allergy should know about foods to avoid, as many who are allergic to peanuts are allergic to other nuts like walnuts, cashews or brazil nuts.
Doctors admit that the ubiquity of foods to avoid makes avoidance difficult and accidental ingestion common. Many of these foods are also popular with children, making it difficult to prevent contact or consumption. Good substitutes are available, however, for foods such as peanut butter.
Be sure to avoid foods that contain any of the following ingredients:
- cold pressed, expressed, or expelled peanut oil
- ground nuts
- mixed nuts
- Nu-Nuts® artificial nuts
- peanut butter
- peanut flour
Foods that may indicate the presence of peanut protein include:
- African, Chinese, Thai, and other ethnic dishes
- baked goods
- chili, spaghetti sauce
- chocolate (candy, candy bars)
- egg rolls
- hydrolyzed plant protein
- hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- ice creams, frozen yogurts, tofutti
By Diane Wadhwa