Spinach Allergy

by Allergy Guy

Spinach allergy is rare but some people do report spinach allergy symptoms or a spinach intolerance, so if you have this problem you are not alone.

It is possible to become allergic to almost anything.  Usually people react to some sort of protein.It is also possible to become sick for some other reason, such as the flu, and then associate some particluar food with being sick, for example feeling sick after eating a spinach salad.  The body may then react to the spinach not as an allergy, but because of the association.  This should fade with time.

Never the less, some people definitely do react to spinach.  Here is an example from Mer:

I’ve been following the comments about kale allergy with interest. Let me say that I’ve had asthma all my life, but none of my triggers had anything to do with food (dust, pet dander, tree pollen) so I am very familiar with those sort of allergic reactions. I am also allergic to a couple of antibiotics: severe itching, hives.

So after a lifetime of eating (and loving) spinach, I developed a severe intolerance for it. My immunologist/allergist corrected me when I called it an allergy. My symptoms are all gastrointestinal and severe enough to put me in ER twice when I inadvertently ate something that contained spinach. My symptoms are delayed (which is why my doctor referred to it as an intolerance rather than an allergy?) but begin with vomiting, then diarrhea. These increase in severity with each passing hour until I begin fainting. When my doctor was told about THAT part of it, he said if it happened again I should go to the nearest ER immediately. I didn’t understand why, but a year or so later, once again I unknowingly ate something that contained spinach and the nightmare began. By the time my husband got me to ER, my blood pressure had dropped so low, I kept fainting.

What is your experience with a spinach allergy?  Please share your experiences and questions, leave a comment.

 

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sad to have allergies January 3, 2014 at 14:23

I am allergic to Spinach. I experience the same symptoms described above. If you’re allergic to Spinach, can you eat Kale?

I’ve also had a reaction to arugula, so I’m nervous about darker leafy greens.

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2 Allergy Guy January 3, 2014 at 19:31

According to wikipedia:
The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide variety of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts.

So if you’re good with any of the above, I wouldn’t worry too much about spinach. Also, spinach is very far removed from kale in the plant kingdom.

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3 Traci January 20, 2015 at 21:11

I’ve had the same reactions as above to spinach and broccoli but none of the others and I can eat collards no problem…

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4 Ann August 2, 2014 at 21:18

I have the same problem so I guess it’s an intolerance more than an allergy. I had always been able to eat spinach but once when I had a sub with some spinach on it I started to develop severe cramping with vomiting and diarrhea. I thought at first the sandwich was just bad but after having several more episodes of different foods with spinach in it I finally figured it out. Depending on the amount I eat I can also have hives at first and itching but the end result is always the same which lasts for anywhere from 8 to 14 hours. I have never fainted but the pain was so severe I wish I would have. You’d be surprised to find the things that contain spinach so I always have to be careful.

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5 Caroline Lamont August 16, 2014 at 03:42

I had a pistachio flavour Magnum ice cream which only after I was vomiting violently, I read the packet and realised it contained spinach powder which was the colouring!, who puts spinach in ice cream!.

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6 Karen September 13, 2014 at 00:13

I am allergic to Spinach. I experience the same symptoms described above, have also been to the ER once. I also have had a reaction to Rocket(arugula) but not quite as severe. I don’t experience any trouble with Kale in fact it is my new favourite green.

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7 Njw November 22, 2014 at 22:04

Hi, I have a different reaction to spinach… When or if I eat spinach , approx 40 mins later I get tired and fall asleep for 2 1/2 hrs.. It’s like taking a sleeping pill. When I wake up it feels like I have a hangover, and still very tired.???

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8 GS January 23, 2015 at 15:23

I have a severe allergy to spinach. The second i ingest it my mouth starts to burn and inner ear itches. I proceed to get severe stomach cramps, kidney pains and diarrhea. If I vomit shortly, it gets better, depending how ground up the spinach was in the food. Many restaurants substitute or add spinach where traditional recipes don’t carry any spinach. I’ve had it in pesto (should be only basil), coleslaw on fish tacos. All mixed greens in salads today carry spinach, I stick to Romaine usually. Green pasta has the same affect. I had some waiters tell me that I was allergic to basil or arugula when in fact the kitchen was substituting cheaper spinach. Benadryl or Claritin helps. Cross contamination in the kitchen is a big worry. I’m wondering if anyone else has allergic reactions like mine to spinach or another food.

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9 Caroline January 23, 2015 at 18:10

I had an ice cream (pistachio magnum), about 3 minutes after eating it I had the familiar horrible sick feeling i get when I eat spinach, looked at the ingredients and there was spinach powder in it which obviously made the green colour of the ice cream, I was in agony, doubled over, the only way I can relieve the pain is to vomit every single last trace from my stomach (fingers down the throat), the first time I experienced it was in an Indian curry, I didn’t make myself sick and was literally rolling around the bed for hours in agony!.

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10 Caroline January 23, 2015 at 18:13

Sorry I forgot about the horrendous kidney pain, I have had 2 children and childbirth isn’t as painful!!, I have been told that its due to the really high histamine levels in spinach so that would probably account for the antihistamines working.

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11 Molly June 23, 2015 at 17:05

GS: My spinach allergy is similar to what you have described, almost instantly my mouth feels weird, throat and inner ears itch so bad I’d like to scratch them out of my head! My scalp, neck & chest get hives on them, usually spreads to my back and stomach. But I don’t get the stomach pains or indigestion issues that I can recall. It is very scary, this was not always like this, I used to eat spinach on a very regular basis, raw, cooked, it didn’t matter. Over the last couple years it have also had the same reaction to TEA!!! Which is terrible because that’s how I used to get my caffeine doses every afternoon! I’m nervous about what else I could be allergic to. Anyone have any suggestions??

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12 Caroline January 23, 2015 at 18:21

I am sure I haven’t always been allergic to spinach, what I have been thinking about lately is after I had my first bad reaction to spinach i had tendonitis in my foot, the doctor prescribed an anti-inflamitory (Naproxin), which I took for a month, it was about 2 weeks into taking that when I had my first reaction to spinach, does anyone think there may be a link as I’ve been told strong anti-inflamitories can damage the lining of your stomach?

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13 Andy April 4, 2015 at 09:16

Hi,
I like spinach and normally eat it raw as a salad although I have had it cooked. I had some wilted last night with my dinner and started to have an extremely dry mouth. I can only guess it was the spinach as other food items were fairly normal. I felt like I had eaten deodorant. The more I drank water the worse it was. Thankfully in the morning it had subsided. I would be very interested to know if this reaction was due to a health issue or deficiency.

Andy

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14 TRICIA June 8, 2015 at 21:55

I just found this website because I think the symptoms I have had are maybe due to the green drinks (spinach) that I have once a day. Symptoms were dry mouth and throat and water made it worse. Then it turned into a cough and hoarseness so I couldn’t talk my throat was so dry. I had this for 6 months and the doctors treated me for everything. and nothing worked. Once I stopped the green drink ( 2 weeks ago) the symptoms are subsiding. I go back to the doctor in a few weeks and see what he thinks.
Tricia

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15 Alex May 15, 2015 at 00:09

My issues with spinach began recently, and include a swollen, reddened, and split (geographic) tongue, and gastrointestinal problems. I eliminated it from my diet, then reintroduced it and found that the aforementioned problems once again happened. No more for me! It’s just not worth the problems.

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16 andrea August 22, 2015 at 00:11

Hi. Im different again. Im pretty tolerant of most things but if I eat spinach I itch intolerably. From top to toe I itch. The roof of my mouth and face, neck area, chest and back are worst. I can eat a very tiny amount and can still feel itchy. As long as I have antihistamines handy I’m okay. It just seems to be spinach that reacts this badly although I do avoid most greens in case. I want to try other foods ie kale and bok choy/pak choy but I’m a bit concerned. I do get slight diarrhea after eating it even raw salad leaves. Any suggestions and does anyone else experience the same reaction

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17 AmberW173 February 8, 2016 at 21:55

The same thing happens to me I turn pink and spotty and itch all over from head to toe even if I only eat a little I thought it was only me but I see now I’m not the only one!

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18 Vicky September 29, 2015 at 14:10

My tongue and roof of my mouth goes numb within a minute of eating raw or partially cooked spinach.

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19 nerak September 30, 2015 at 08:02

I have not had any gastrointestinal reactions to spinach. I have had spinach twice. Both times after finishing my meal my throat started to constrict and I had difficulty breathing. This only lasted a 5 minutes but it was the scariest 5 minutes of my life. I have never had spinach since. The meal was spinach cannelloni which contained past tomatoes and ricotta cheese, all of which i have eaten since with no reaction. Anyone experienced anything like this??

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20 CD October 25, 2015 at 09:37

I get an itchy and very swollen throat, then stomach cramps if I eat spinach, Kale, rocket, peas, coriander, basil, kiwi fruit, parsley (When I once ate a lot of uncooked parsley I had a similar reaction to someone else when I suddenly fell asleep for a couple of hours!).

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21 Samantha October 31, 2015 at 21:32

I was handling frozen spinach, thawing it out for a dip and ate some. About ten minutes later my hands turned bright red and itched like never before. Before I knew it not only were my hands swollen but suddenly my eyes were starting to get poofy and my tongue was swelling. I had time to take some loratadine tablets and call 911 before I felt my tongue really swell. I love spinach, and really love spinach dip. I never thought I would have an allergic reaction like that.

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22 Mia November 9, 2015 at 06:57

Everytime i have spinach i fall really sick,
I vomit, get a fever, i feel really cold and i shiver.. I get pains and migraines. So i am usually bedbound and the next morning i am fine again! Do you think this is an allergy or intolerance?

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23 Allergy Guy November 29, 2015 at 22:05

Well, it does sound like a strong coincidence so it is possible. Maybe cut out spinach for a few months and see what happens? Is it possible that ever time you eat spinach, you eat some other food with it?

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24 Mia January 18, 2016 at 17:25

Nope its only if spinach is with it that tends to happen!

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25 Maya Russell November 23, 2015 at 15:52

I can eat spinach with little reaction but yesterday the paramedics were called out as my reaction was very bad. They gave me an injection of antihistamine. My reaction was, and not in any order, a red rash, tingling and severe itching all over my body – legs, arms, groin area, chest and head. My ears started itching. I was sneezing, my asthma started up so had to use my inhaler serveral times,my mouth started burning and I started salivating but found it difficult to swallow. I could feel my heart rate going up. And because my face and mouth were swelling up, somewhat, I called NHS.
I am just so sad because I LOVE spinach daal and boiled rice. One of my favourite, healthy meals. Typical!

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26 foreverafs December 5, 2015 at 01:00

the allergy seems to be rare and the symptoms don’t seem to be that bad, all that I have found.

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27 Kiri December 22, 2015 at 00:20

When I was young my mum used to cook spinach in milk. I don’t remember ever having any symptoms (apart from I hated it).
When I was older, I started having baby spinach leaves in my salad and afterwards would get severe cramps in my stomach and bowel which would last for about 12 hours until the spinach was expelled. I tried spinach cooked, and got the same cramps. I tried Kale and got the same cramps. Oh and also bloating and burping and farting. I also have IBS, diabetes and FLS so I’m assuming that it has something to do with one of those 3. I’ve found that I can tell by the smell of the leafy greens whether they’re going to be cramp-worthy or not. (Brocolli, cabbage in small amounts cooked are fine). I’m assuming it’s some sort of intolerance. As I’m about to embark on going vegan, I’m looking for some sort of vegetable that has similiar health benefits as spinach and Kale, but without the pain.

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28 Alcides December 22, 2015 at 12:47

I also experienced the same symptoms described. I used to eat spinach but suddenly developed a late reaction that involves severe pain and fainting. I also ended up in ER once.

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29 Tonya January 31, 2016 at 19:04

The last 3 times I had a meal with spinach I had the same reaction and concluded the cause was the spinach. It starts with my lips itching after about 10-20 minutes. Then my lips swell and break out in a very fine rash which later spreads to the rest of my face, ears and neck. I never got diagnosed by an allergist but have not had the reaction again since I took spinach out of my diet.

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