Raw Peppers (Bell) Intolerance

  • posted by Walki
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    Hi, just caught the end of Michael Mosely on Radio 2 on intolerances. I have had an intolerance for years now and wondered if anyone has the same intolerance as I haven’t come across it before. I can’t eat raw Peppers (red, orange, green or yellow), if I do I get really bad colicky stomach pains that comes in waves and lasts anytime between 4 – 8 hours. I can, however, eat them if they are cooked are regularly eat them cooked in dishes. The same thing happens if I eat Chinese food but I haven’t pinpointed what it is in Chinese food that upsets me, I thought maybe it was the Monosodium Glutamate but I don’t get the same reaction to other people who are intolerant to MSG (eg headaches) and I can eat potato crisps etc freely with MSG with no effect.

    I am particularly interested in the Peppers intolerance though, I regularly eat potatoes and tomatoes so it can’t be a nightshade intolerance. Any ideas??

  • posted by KatyTree
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    I am intolerant or allergic to bell pepper too, its really frustrating as it isnt one of the 14 official allergens, so i have to search ingredients lists and everytime i eat out or eat packaged food. I get shivery and am violently sick within 20 minutes of eating anything with pepper in. If its dried pepper flakes, i feel ‘car sick’ for the rest of the day. I get really cross when i find that pepper is in random food, for example tomato soup and not listed on the menu. I have no problems eating potatoes, aubergines and tomatoes.

  • posted by Walki
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    Hi KatyTree,

    Sorry to hear of your intolerance, I don’t get sick, just awful stomach ache, I can’t do anything when I have it I just curl up in a ball and it lasts for hours or until I can eventually get to sleep at night. I guess I am luckier in you, in that I can eat peppers when they are cooked e.g. in commercial soups and foods, and foods that I prepare and cook. I have had a very milder version of the stomach ache when eating spinach in salads as well – again, cooked is fine. Cant seem to find a connection with any of these foods. Needless to say I avoid all of these things like the plague 😁.

  • posted by Firefox7275
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    The best person to diagnose is a health professional – family doctor/ registered dietician/ allergist – who has access to your medical history and detailed food and symptom diary. Self diagnosing food allergies or food intolerances based on comparison with someone else’s self diagnosis has a good chance of being wrong.

    Reacting to a food raw but not cooked suggests a sensitivity to a component removed, destroyed or altered during processing. That might be the protein in the flesh of the pepper, or in another part of the plant, or a microbe (fungus/ bacteria) or insect or pollen commonly found on the plant.

    With true allergies ‘cross reactivity’ can occur due to the same, or structurally similar, protein being encountered elsewhere. Examples include the enzyme in papaya and a protein in dust mite poop, or wheat gluten and the protein in oats.

    For bell peppers some might also react to chilli peppers or paprika since these are closely related. Chilli-infused oil and paprika-based flavours/ colours are widely used in South and East Asian cuisines.

    Once an allergy or intolerance has been formally diagnosed, the dietician or allergist will advise which other foods or substances to avoid.

    HTH!

  • posted by Walki
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    Thanks for your input Firefox7275. I went to my doc’s many years ago when I first encountered this intolerance but he wasn’t interested, he gave me some anti-spasmodic tabs that didn’t work when I got the stomach cramps. Over the years, however, I have learnt not to eat raw peppers and Chinese foods so I haven’t had any symptoms for a while now. I don’t have the same reaction to chillis, paprika and anything else you mentioned.

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