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Allergy research: what can help people with an apple allergy


Apple allergy: This can help those affected

Apples are actually considered to be very healthy, but when people with apple allergies consume this fruit, they quickly develop symptoms such as a burning sensation in the mouth and throat. However, such complaints do not occur with all types of apple.

Health disadvantages from apple consumption

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is an old English proverb. In fact, apples are valuable for health. They are true “vitamin bombs” and contain a lot of trace elements, secondary plant substances as well as dietary fiber and mineral substances such as calcium, magnesium and iron. However, the fruit also has health disadvantages for some people. Because around two million Germans suffer from an apple allergy, as the Federal Association for the Protection of the Environment and Nature (BUND) explains.

Every second pollen allergy allergic to fruits or vegetables

"A person who suffers from an apple allergy will soon experience symptoms such as a burning sensation in the mouth and throat, tongue and lips and become deaf after eating the fruit," said the pediatrician and allergist Dr. Matthias Kübler in an interview with the Naturschutzbund (NABU) Baden-Württemberg.

"Sometimes there may also be swelling of the deep throat and larynx region, which can be associated with tightness and, in rare cases, shortness of breath," says the doctor.

People with a pollen allergy are often affected. Because anyone who is allergic to birch pollen usually cannot tolerate certain apples.

This is because the fruit contains allergens "that are similar to the most important allergens in birch pollen," explains Berlin allergist Karl-Christian Bergmann from the Charité in a message from the dpa news agency.

According to his information, there are around eleven million adults with hay fever in this country, about one in two of whom are allergic to fruit or vegetables.

Not allergic to all apples

The general statement "apple allergy" is actually wrong, writes the BUND in Lemgo (North Rhine-Westphalia) on its website.

"Correctly, it should be said that those affected have an allergic reaction to certain types of apple, in particular supermarket varieties, and not, as is shown by the diagnosis of apple allergy, that there are allergic reactions to all apple varieties," said the experts.

Indeed, the allergic reactions are observed especially with common varieties such as Golden Delicious, Gala or Jonagold.

"The newer varieties, so-called table apples, contain a particularly large number of allergens," explains Bergmann in the dpa report.

According to this, the allergen content is so high that another apple repellent, the polyphenols, has been greatly reduced through breeding in order to achieve sweeter varieties.

Polyphenols, which are responsible for aroma and acidity, protect the apple from mold and are also healthy for humans.

"The saying 'one apple a day saves you having to go to the doctor' but applies more to old apple varieties," says Bergmann.

Study participants had to eat problematic apples

In a small observational study, the allergist and colleagues also discovered that old apple varieties are not only more tolerable for allergy sufferers, but that their regular consumption can also make those affected more resistant to problem apples and reduce symptoms of hay fever.

As part of the study, the approximately 100 subjects ate a “problem apple” of the Golden Delicious variety at the beginning and at the end of the study.

In between, they were given old apple varieties with a high polyphenol content such as Alkmene, Eifeler Rambur, Goldparmäne and Roter Boskoop every day for three months.

“Around 70 participants took part until the end. Many were able to tolerate the Golden Delicious better afterwards and had fewer complaints in the hay fever season that followed, ”explains Bergmann in the agency report.

The expert is now continuing to research the topic and wants to cooperate more with colleagues from Kazakhstan.

Because from there comes the forefather of today's cultivated apple, the wild species Malus sieversii. "There are no hay fever problems like this here," says the scientist, who wants to find out whether this is due to the high polyphenol content of the apple varieties there.

Compatible varieties

Although researchers found in a study last year that an apple allergy can alleviate apple allergy, it is more advisable if those affected concentrate on compatible apples.

The BUND Lemgo has compiled a list of apple varieties that are tolerable or incompatible for allergy sufferers.

According to the information, allergy sufferers have good experiences with Berlepsch, Prince Albrecht of Prussia and White Winter Bell Apple, among others.

On another page, the experts listed sources of supply for old types of fruit.

Heat or peel the fruit

By the way, allergy sufferers usually don't have to do without apple pie and compote. The pediatrician and allergist Matthias Kübler explains why this is so to NABU:

"The protein primarily responsible for apple allergy is called" mald1 "and is heat-unstable. This means that heating the apples while cooking or baking changes the protein structure so that it is now tolerated by the immune system, ”says the doctor.

And: “In some cases, grating the apples is enough to make them more tolerable. Peeling apples can also be helpful because most of the allergens are in the bowl. ”(Ad)

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