Taking Your Kiwi Allergy Seriously

What fruit has two times the vitamin C of an orange, four times the vitamin C of a grapefruit and as much potassium as a banana? It might come as a surprise that this super fruit is none other than the kiwi.  This tiny, brown prickly skinned fruit, is also rich in vitamin A and E and the omega-3 essential fatty acid.  Kiwis are also high in fiber and have antioxidant properties.  And studies have also shown that consuming kiwis can lessen respiratory symptoms associated with asthma, wheezing and bronchitis.


The kiwi, also known as a Chinese gooseberry, originated from China but has become very popular within the North American diet.  Peeling and slicing them up to reveal their bright green insides or cutting off the top and eating them with a spoon, they are packed with nutrition and taste.   And along with its ever growing popularity has come an increase in the number of kiwi allergies reported around the world. 

Studies of those with kiwi allergies show that children are more likely than adults to show severe symptoms.  Additionally after an initial reaction, subsequent reactions appear to become more severe.  For this reason it is very important not to ignore any reaction you might experience after eating a kiwi. 

There seems to be two types of allergic reactions to kiwis. For many who experience an allergy to kiwis, it is often linked to what is called “oral allergy syndrome.”   If it is oral allergy syndrome, the symptoms usually are limited to itching and inflammation of mouth and throat.

  Research shows that the kiwi allergy has grown due to the fact that is will cross-react with many other allergens.  These include avocado, banana, hazelnuts and birch pollen, which has similar properties and will cause similar responses by the body.  Studies show that where there is more evidence of birch pollen, there are a greater number of kiwi allergies.

For those with a true allergy, the symptoms can be much more severe, and can include abdominal pains, vomiting, difficulty breathing and even anaphylactic shock, which can result in death.  Additionally a sign of an allergic reaction can include hives, rashes and even eczema.

Oddly enough, there are also similar properties between an allergy to latex and kiwis.  There seems to be a common epitope, so the immune system believes them to be the same thing. This is another reason where cross reactions come into effect, causing a growing concern over kiwi allergies.  

So while this ever popular fruit it packed with nutrition and taste, for those with allergies it is certainly one to avoid.  While you may not truly understand the cause of your reactions, it is important to take it seriously.  

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