The Asian community and an increase in reporting of allergies

The Asian community and an increase in reporting of allergies

  • 20 July 2015
  • News

In recent years, we have noticed an increase in the reporting of allergies from the Asian community.  There has been some evidence that the reason for the increase is due to the Indian diet which uses a lot of dals and legumes including lentils and fenugreek [methi]. 

  • Research has shown that lentils are the most common legume involved in allergic reactions in the Mediterranean area and India. The prevalence of lentil allergy in the UK population is unknown, but it is likely becoming more common.
  • Little is known about allergy to fenugreek, but it causes allergic reactions amongst a small number of people.  Some doctors believe this may be due to cross-reactively as a small percentage of people with a peanut allergy (peanuts are also a legume), react to fenugreek.

Up until now there have been no statistics on the number of the people allergic to legumes within the Asian community in the UK. 

Professor John Warner, Professor of Paediatrics and Head of Department Imperial College, said; “The number of children and adults suffering from food allergies is increasing at an alarming rate.  Also the range of foods causing reactions has widened as we eat an ever more diverse diet from different countries around the world.  We all need to be aware about the content of meals in order to identify the offending food causing a reaction.  Allergists have become aware that Asian dishes containing a range of different lentils and other legumes are sometimes a cause of reactions which can be severe leading to anaphylaxis.  As peanut and fenugreek are also legumes they occasionally also cause reactions in those allergic to lentils.  It is very important to be aware of this potential cross-reactivity and ensure if there is a problem that this is discussed with your doctor I am, therefore, very pleased that we are collaborating with the Asian community to raise all our awareness of the problem and how to deal with it”.  

Lynne Regent, Chief Executive Officer of the Anaphylaxis Campaign said; “It is important it is for us to work with the Asian communities to build awareness of these allergies so we can provide support.  As part of this support we are planning a workshop next year focusing on this issue.  We will also monitor the number of severe allergic reactions.   If you have been affected please contact Carey Ledford in my team, or call us on 01252 546100.