Roasted nuts worse for allergies than raw nuts

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According to an Oxford University study done on mice, it is more likely that roasted nuts will trigger an allergic reaction, rather than raw nuts.

They have however stated that much more work is required before humans should consider swapping roasted for raw nuts.

During the study, mice were exposed to peanut proteins through the stomach or the skin. It was found that animals that were given the dry roasted samples appeared to have a much stronger immune response, than the animals that were given the raw versions.

Immune responses are varied in humans. Some may be mild, where it causes rashes, but others could be very dangerous, leading to breathing difficulties and mouth swelling.

Scientists state that the high temperatures used during the roasting process may cause chemical changes, which prompt the allergic reactions.

The leader of the research, Professor Quentin Sattentau, said this is the first time, to their knowledge, that a possible nut allergy trigger has been indicated directly.

Researchers believe that these findings may offer an explanation as to why allergy rates are lower in East Asian populations, as they generally make use of fried, raw or boiled nuts, rather than the roasted variety.

However, they have warned that more research is required before doctors are able to make particular dietary recommendations.

Professor Sattentau said that they are aware that children in families who suffer other allergies are at higher risk of developing a nut allergy. He said that their research was in its early stages and it would be premature to avoid roasted nuts and its by-products until further work has been done to confirm the results of the study.

Scientists are currently looking at methods to get rid of the chemical changes which are responsible for starting the immune system.

Image Credit: david pacey

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