Nuts and peanuts

monkey nutsPeanut is one of the most allergenic foods frequently causing very severe reactions including anaphylaxis. An allergy to peanuts begins in childhood and is usually maintained throughout life. 

If you have an allergy to nuts or peanuts you should be very careful with Malaysian, Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes because these commonly contain nuts or peanuts or are cooked in oils made from nuts or groundnuts. Nuts can also be ground up which means you might not be able to see them, for example, ground almonds or peanut flour can be used to thicken sauces in Indian food and the chef may not immediately think of this when you ask about the content of the meal. 

It may be safer to avoid eating meals or takeaways from these types of restaurants if you are in any doubt.

Avoid

  • Peanut / may contain traces of peanuts
  • Cold – pressed or expeller expressed peanut oil
  • Ground nuts
  • Mixed nuts
  • Peanut butter, flour, oil, starch
  • Beer nuts
  • Arachis (part of the pea family, at least one species is peanut)
  • Gianduja (sweet chocolate contains 50% hazelnut and almond paste)
  • Goober peas and nuts
  • Mandalona (a nut substitute derived from peanut meal)

Common food sources containing nuts include:

  • Asian foods
  • Baked goods – breads, muffins, pastries, cookies
  • Baking mixes
  • Cereals
  • Granola
  • Crackers
  • Chili
  • Ice-cream
  • Mortadella (Italian cold cut salume flavoured with nutmeg, coriander etc)
  • Nut burgers
  • Sauces (peanuts often used as a thicker)
  • Soups (mostly dried)

Eat instead

Nuts are good sources of protein, fat, iron, zinc and niacin (vitamin B3). However if you are allergic to nuts you will be able to obtain these vitamins and minerals from various other alternative food substitutes. Foods rich in these vitamins and minerals are:

  • Oily fish
  • Red meat
  • Eggs
  • Green vegetables

Nuts make up part of the meat, fish and alternatives section of the food pyramid / eatwell plate so you can choose any two of the other options so that you do not lose out on a major food category from your diet.

When making foods which normally contain nuts the following substitutes can be used as alternatives;

  • Grape-nut cereal
  • Dried fruit
  • Granola
  • Rolled oats (toasted)
  • Chocolate chips (in sweet deserts)