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.


Leave a Comment

{ 12 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.


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.


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…


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.


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!.


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.


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.???


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.


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!.


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.


11 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?


12 Andy April 4, 2015 at 09:16

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.



Previous post:

Next post: