Sweet in flavour and iconically British, strawberries are one of the U.K’s most loved fruits; no Valentine’s Day, tennis match or summer would be complete without them. It’s hard to overstate their popularity; at certain times of the year, the little red berries even outsell household staples like milk and bread .
It’s lucky then, that as well as being delicious, strawberries have a number of health benefits. Containing more vitamin C by weight than oranges, the fruit is a great source of antioxidants, and can help to boost immunity, regulate blood pressure, and even prevent wrinkles. The strawberry’s characteristic red colour comes from the high presence of flavonoids in the fruit, something which also makes them great for reducing cholesterol. Plus, as a 100g serving contains only 50 calories, meaning they’re incredibly low in fat.
Although fairly uncommon, strawberry allergies and intolerances do exist. As the condition is rare, strawberries don’t need to be labelled as a potential allergen, and some might be wondering if it’s even possible to be intolerant or allergic to strawberries. Again, some may be confused as to what the difference between a strawberry allergy and intolerance may be.
To clear up any misconceptions, we’ve put together some of the common signs, symptoms, and remedies of strawberry intolerance and strawberry allergy.
What are the symptoms of strawberry allergy?
Common symptoms of strawberry allergy include:
• Redness and tingling of the skin
• Itchy rashes
• Watery eyes
• Runny nose
• Swelling of lips and tongue
• Swelling of throat
These symptoms will vary depending on person to person, may not all be present, and can often take a few hours to develop. The method of contact with strawberry will also influence the types of symptoms that occur. For example, symptoms like nausea, bloating, diarrhoea, and lip swelling are less likely to occur if the sufferer has not ingested the strawberry. Unlike other allergies, it’s rare – but not impossible – for strawberry allergy sufferers to experience anaphylaxis.
What is a strawberry intolerance?
A strawberry intolerance differs from strawberry allergy. Whereas a strawberry allergy is likely to be a lifelong condition, intolerance to the fruit can be temporary, and first be displayed later in life.
What are the symptoms of strawberry intolerance?
For symptoms of strawberry intolerance to be exhibited, the fruit needs to be ingested. Unlike with allergies, symptoms are unlikely to have a quick onset, and can take from a few hours to a few days to develop. Common symptoms of strawberry intolerance include:
• Stomach pain/upset
• Skin rashes and inflammation
• Swelling of face/lips
What should I do if I think I have a strawberry allergy or intolerance?
It’s important to state that whatever the cause or symptoms, allergies have the potential to be seriously debilitating and life threatening. The rareness of strawberry allergies doesn’t make them any less serious, and if you think you may be suffering from an allergy, you should consult a doctor to get a diagnosis. If you have a strawberry allergy, it may be the case that you’re prescribed an anti-histamine to help prevent symptoms flaring up.
This applies to strawberry intolerance too. If you think consumption of the fruit may be causing you discomfort and illness, it’s still a good idea to consult your GP to see if an undiagnosed medical condition might be the cause. It’s important not to make a standalone decision to eliminate any food from your diet, especially one with the nutritional value and health benefits of strawberry. A survey conducted by YorkTest have found that 64% of our customers react to between 2 and 8 foods, meaning that simply cutting out one food might not have any benefit. A food intolerance test could help you understand whether it’s strawberries or something else that are acting as a trigger, and lead you to either keep or trial phasing out the food from your diet.
Think you have an intolerance, but not sure what to? Our FoodScan Programme can pinpoint potential trigger foods, and help you make decisions towards optimising your diet.