Mind and Body

Flavored Coffee May Trigger Seasonal Allergies, Doctor Says

Can your flavored coffee drink worsen your seasonal allergies?

The quick answer is maybe. It is estimated that up to one half of those who suffer with seasonal allergies to pesky tree, grass and weed pollens each year may succumb to “oral allergy syndrome.” 

That’s right! Due to a “cross-reaction” between proteins in fresh fruit, some vegetables, nuts (including hazelnut and almond which may be found in coffee beverages) and even spices, the immune system believes it may be under attack.

The verdict may be “oral allergy symptoms” such as tingling, itchiness of the lips, tongue, mouth and even throat after the ingestion of a various foods that trigger localized, largely mild, oral symptoms.

A partial list of spring time food triggers include:
* apple
* pear
* carrot
* hazelnut
* almond
* cherry
* peach
* plum
* celery
* kiwi

The good news is that in many cases, when possible, simply peeling or cooking the fresh fruits can “knock out” the proteins responsible for these common and annoying symptoms that may also aggravate seasonal allergy symptoms. In many allergy sufferers this condition is chiefly manifested during the pollen season.

This illustrates the importance of getting allergist-directed care to properly manage your condition, especially as symptoms can be easily confused with a more serious, potentially life-threatening food allergies. Learn what your allergic triggers are before the “peak allergy pollen” season. 


Dr. Clifford Bassett is an adult and pediatric allergy specialist, and diplomate of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. He is the medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY and author of "The New Allergy Solution: Super-Charge Resistance, Slash Medication, Stop Suffering." Bassett is a clinical assistant professor of medicine and on the teaching faculty of NYU School of Medicine and NYU Langone Medical Center, and faculty at Cornell University Medical College. Follow him on Twitter.