Tree Nut Free Diets
About the Allergen
- Some of the most common tree nuts are almond, walnut, pecan, hickory, cashew, pistachio, hazelnut, filbert, Brazil nut, macadamia nut, chestnut, and coconut.
- Individuals may be allergic to a single tree nut or multiple tree nuts. Discuss which tree nuts need to be avoided for your specific allergies with your allergist.
- Cross reactivity may occur among certain tree nuts that are closely related. Cross reactivity results from shared protein structures among tree nuts, which may result in an allergic reaction in some people.
- Cross contact is also a concern with tree nuts. Cross contact occurs when trace amounts of the allergenic food come in contact with a safe food during processing and/or handling.
When replacing a food allergen, you will need to focus on incorporating a variety of whole foods in your diet that contain the nutrients you’re missing due to eliminating the problem food.
- Nutrients in tree nuts vary. Tree nuts are consistently good sources of fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and protein. Almonds and hazelnuts are an excellent source of vitamin E, and Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium. If eliminating tree nuts from your diet, use a variety of these foods as alternatives:
- Fiber: beans, legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds
- Phosphorus: meat, poultry, fish, beans, legumes, seeds, egg, whole grains
- Manganese: whole grains, seeds, beans, legumes
- Protein: meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, beans, legumes, seeds
- Selenium: pork, poultry, wheat, beef, tuna, sunflower seeds, lamb, fish, shellfish, barley
- Vitamin E: seeds, wheat germ oil, avocados, sunflower oil, dried apricots, spinach, turnip greens, taro, tomato products
- Magnesium: seeds, beans, legumes, fish, cocoa, whole grains, dark leafy greens, potatoes
- The FDA requires all tree nuts to be disclosed on food labels with the specific tree nut name stated within the ingredient list or immediately following it.
- Avoid products with nut paste, extracts, butters, meal, meat, milk, or oils, and artificial nuts, pesto, and praline.
- Tree nuts are commonly found in baklava, bakeries and bakery items, breads, candy, cereal, chocolates, cookies, crackers, energy bars, ethnic dishes, flavored coffee, granola or granola bars, ice cream, marinades, salad garnishes, and sauces. These lists are not all inclusive.
Alternatives and Suggested Products
- Suggested products include:
- Don’t Go Nuts plant based spread, contains soy
- SunButter, contains sunflower seeds
- The Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter, contains peas
- WOWBUTTER, contains soy
- MyGerbs.com, seeds free from tree nuts
NOTE: Always double check the allergy statement on any products you purchase. Food manufacturers may change their ingredients at any time.