Potatoes are tasty, healthy, and adaptable. However, if you have a potato allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity, you might need to make certain dietary adjustments in addition to avoiding them.
Potato is a member of the Solanaceae (Nightshades or the Nightshade) family. To differentiate potatoes from sweet potatoes, they might be referred to as white potatoes or Irish potatoes. More than 5,000 different potato varieties exist.
Potatoes, whether cooked or uncooked, can cause allergic responses. Read food labels carefully because potatoes are the fourth most popular crop in the world and are frequently used in American food products.
What is a potato allergy?
Food allergies develop when the immune system has an exaggerated response to substances in the food. In the event of a potato allergy, the immune system “mistakenly” interprets specific potato proteins as potentially dangerous compounds and mounts a response, much like it would when germs or viruses are present.
The immune system and a person's susceptibility to certain compounds are the two main factors that contribute to potato allergies and reactions. Patatin and solanine, which are both naturally present in all potato varieties, are two of the most typical substances that can cause an unfavorable reaction.
What are the symptoms of a potato allergy?
Symptoms of a potato allergy might include several things, such as:
- Itchy eyes
- Tingling and/or itching in the mouth
- Feeling light-headed
- Difficulty swallowing
- Facial swelling
- Swelling in the mouth or throat
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the abdomen
- A rash or hives
Anaphylactic reactions to potatoes
Sometimes, severe anaphylactic reactions or potentially fatal whole-body allergic reactions can occur in rare cases when a person has a strong allergy to potatoes. Anaphylaxis symptoms can appear suddenly and get worse very quickly.
Anaphylaxis symptoms can escalate to:
Which foods to avoid?
Anyone who has a potato allergy should completely avoid them and any product containing their components. Even a small amount of potato, such as that from a frying surface that held potatoes, can be enough to trigger anaphylaxis in someone with a severe allergy.
Many foods, including certain cupcakes and shredded mozzarella cheese, contain potato starch or potato flour as a secret ingredient. Potato starch is used by manufacturers to thicken food, absorb water or stop some ingredients from clinging to one another. In recipes for baked products, potato flour can occasionally be used in place of wheat flour.
Anyone with a potato allergy or intolerance must check the food labels on everything they purchase to be sure it is free of potatoes.
List of foods to avoid
- Vodka (a variety of vodkas are produced using potatoes)
- Casseroles, including croquettes, and other prepared foods that contain unidentified food ingredients
- Dried potato flakes (frequently added to canned soups, stews, and purees to thicken them)
- Potato crisps
- Potato flour (frequently used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour in a variety of baked products, such as bread, muffins, and cookies, and consumer-packed goods, such as chips, crackers, and gluten-free snack foods)
What about sweet potatoes?
Although they are regarded as the same type of root vegetable, sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) come from a completely distinct plant family called Convolvulaceae or Morning Glories.
Sweet potatoes don't include any known allergens (such as patatin). As a result, they do not produce the same allergic reactions as the common potato (Solanum tuberosum), a member of the Solanaceae (Nightshade) family.
However, it is possible to develop a severe intolerance to sweet potatoes due to an IgG reaction to their proteins.
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