Allergy, Spinach

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    blood sample




    Age group

    Above 10 years

    Spinach may not be a food item consumed regularly. However, it is common in dishes like pasta, eggs, and salads. Although it is not among the top allergens, some people may have a spinach allergy.

    Like any other food allergy, the route of exposure for spinach allergy is consuming foods containing the leafy vegetable spinach. Symptoms of this allergy include:

    • Gastrointestinal problems
    • Respiratory issues
    • Nasal problems
    • Skin issues

    Spinach has a very high histamine level. Hence, it can cause issues for people with histamine intolerance. While the spinach allergy can be due to reasons other than histamine content, it is common for that to be the cause. 
    Allergic reactions due to spinach can cause the following effects on one's body:

    • Itching
    • Congestion
    • Hives
    • Vomiting
    • Abdominal pains
    • Swelling 
    • Indigestion 
    • Diarrhoea

    Sometimes, it may lead to severe symptoms like an anaphylactic shock. In such cases, the blood pressure can drop suddenly, and extreme swelling in the lungs can block airways. Such cases are life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.

    It is not uncommon for a food allergy to lead to anaphylactic shocks. Hence, it is recommended that people with a known spinach allergy always carry an epinephrine pen in case an emergency occurs.

    Diagnosis for spinach allergy is done through a blood test. The test is almost painless and does not expose the patient to the allergen. Hence, it is preferred over oral and skin tests. Blood tests are also more suitable for children whose skin cannot take the pressure of a pricking test.

    Health experts look for a substance called immunoglobulin E (IgE) in the blood. The amount of IgE antibodies produced in response to spinach consumption determines whether or not someone is allergic to it.

    A spinach allergy is usually lifelong and cannot be overcome. So, its treatment, for the most part, includes avoiding foods that contain spinach. One can do so by:

    • Reading all food labels while buying packaged foods
    • Letting the restaurant or hotel know of their spinach allergy when eating out
    • Ensuring that the host knows they are allergic to spinach when eating at someone’s place as a guest

    Different methods have to be adopted to counter the effects in the case of spinach exposure. For mild skin reactions, topical histamine creams can be used to reduce the impact. Antihistamine drugs are also helpful in reducing inflammation.

    Although anaphylactic reactions are uncommon when it comes to spinach allergy, they may still occur. In such cases of extreme reactions, the patient should be brought to medical attention immediately.

    Since a spinach allergy is often associated with high histamine levels, switching to a low histamine diet can also prove beneficial.

    Apollo 24|7 offers a spinach allergy test that helps one know if they are allergic to the leafy vegetable. The report is generated within seven days. 

    Medically reviewed by Dr. Saibal Moitra, Allergist and clinical immunologist, Apollo Multispeciality Hospitals, Kolkata.

    faqFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Frequently asked questions

    Histamines are substances in the body that work with the immune system to protect against foreign harmful substances. Allergens cause histamine levels in the body to rise, which leads to allergic reactions and similar symptoms. A high histamine level is an overreaction to the allergen and the cause behind allergies.
    If someone observes an irrational reaction in the body after consuming spinach, it is best to consult a doctor. Allergic reactions can include mild irritations like skin rashes or cause extreme reactions like an anaphylactic shock. Although a spinach allergy is not too common, it may still occur and should be tested at the earliest.
    Individuals who are sensitive to certain moulds or latex are at higher risk of having a spinach allergy. Those with histamine intolerance can also face issues while consuming spinach as it is rich in the same.
    Spinach allergy is when the body perceives spinach or some of its components as a threat. Hence, it overreacts, causing an allergic reaction. The reaction may include shortness of breath, skin rashes, swelling, or more. Spinach intolerance is when the body is unable to digest spinach correctly. It cannot be life-threatening.
    Those having an allergy to spinach will have to remove it from their diet completely. However, this may lead to a nutrition gap. Some alternatives to make up for eradicating spinach from diet include lettuce, watercress, kale, and turnip greens.
    If a spinach allergy is diagnosed in a child, there is a chance that they may overcome it growing up. However, in most cases, spinach allergies are lifelong and dietary changes are the only way to get around them.

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    The information mentioned above is meant for educational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute to your Physician’s advice. It is highly recommended that the customer consults with a qualified healthcare professional to interpret test results

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