Coconut is a tree nut and peanut is a legume, but a peanut will trigger your nut allergies and coconut is unlikely to. Nut allergies are tricky business and if you have an allergy to nuts figuring it out is vital

Here are 4 things you need to know about having a nut allergy.

READ MORE: How to prevent food allergies in your children: 7 Allergy prevention tips from an expert

“Might contain nuts” means you shouldn’t eat it if you are allergic to nuts


Tree nut allergy is sometimes also a peanut allergy, but not always

According to AAAAI there is a difference between tree nuts and peanuts; if you are allergic to one, the chances of you being allergic to other types of nuts are high. 

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“Even though individuals allergic to tree nuts are often allergic to more than one type of tree nut, it may be appropriate and safe to consume certain tree nuts while avoiding others. This decision must be made after careful discussion with an allergist and should be based on multiple factors, including the age of the individual, results of allergy testing, risk of potential cross-reactivity between the nuts, quality of life implications and family preferences,” they say. 

READ MORE: Life-threatening allergy attacks on the rise

You can develop a nut allergy

Most allergies develop during childhood and are discovered then, some allergies including a nut allergy can develop in adulthood.

According to The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), it is not common to develop an allergy, but it does happen. 

It is also possible for children to outgrow an allergy, although it is important to talk to a doctor before testing developing and outgrowing a nut allergy because allergic reactions can be fatal.

READ MORE: Thumb sucking may reduce children’s allergy risk: study

Coconut is a tree nut, but won’t trigger allergies

Coconut is technically a nut ( a fibrous one-seeded drupe) however, it doesn’t have many of the proteins that trigger nut allergies while peanuts (which are technically, a legume) do.

According to Allergy Amulet, a coconut allergy is rare and not related to a tree nut or peanut allergy.

“Technically speaking, a nut is defined as a one-seeded fruit. So with that loose definition, a coconut can also be classified as a nut. However, coconuts lack many of the proteins that people with tree nut allergies are sensitive to, so many people who have tree nut allergies can safely eat coconut without having an allergic reaction,” they say, adding that the Journal of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology published a study that investigates the relationship between sesame, coconut, and nut allergies in children. The study found that children with a peanut or tree nut allergy were not more likely to be allergic to coconut.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.