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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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ann S. November 13, 2017 at 01:53

I have had the same experience on way too many occasions. Although I do not faint, the abdominal pain is so severe I honestly wish I would. Thank God I have not had any episodes in quite some time. They had varied depending on how much spinach I would ingest. If I had accidentally eaten a larger amount I would start with a tingling and itching to the face, lips and neck, then the bloating and nausea starts, with severe cramping and eventually going to vomiting and/or diarrhea. I had eaten spinach for years, maybe not regularly, but it was never a problem. I am still at a loss as to why this would develop. And the sad part is when you are trying to eat healthier so many things have spinach in it. Does anyone know how to stop this or does it ever just go away?


2 Jane October 22, 2017 at 16:04

I have had green food allergies for 40 plus years. The first I remember is having Tarragon Chicken as a family meal and my mouth and tongue swelling so much I scared me to death. Since then I have been allergic to all green leafy veg, the Darker the Veg the more severer the reaction. Light leafy veg I can get away with small amounts say once a week but if I have it to much my eczema flares up. With dark green I get immediate reaction, mouth and throat swelling and within 10 minutes I’m on the loo.
I had skin patch test and I’m allergic to all green leafy veg(Darker the most), mushrooms, citrus fruits (limes the most), kiwi, celery. Also all if I touch grass or leaves I come out in wheels. I’m also allergic to animal, birds, pollen, dust mites and lanolin and I have asthma. I can eat green runner beans, broccoli, peas, broad beans but they are not leaves, I alway think it’s the chlorophyll but I’m might be wrong. But I have learned to live with it and I have a varied diet. Glad to know I’m not the only one as my Specialist hadn’t seen it before and one I saw didn’t believe me until he read my NHS notes.


3 Oliver October 11, 2017 at 17:05

I get an uncomfortable, tingly mouth, and need to wash it away with a drink or something. I have just also noticed I get a tingling sensation on the palms of my hands


4 AJ September 14, 2017 at 11:07

My 15 yr old daughter had what seemed like a UTI about a year ago. Burning on urination etc. After testing urine it was not UTI but was attributed to her eating ALOT of cooked spinach with garlic and butter. Now she has an all over body rash that started when school started 9/5/17 and i started making her smoothies with spinach strawberries and bananas.
She has never had any food allergies and I’m not sure its the smoothies but nothing else in the household has changed. Does this make any sense? We don’t eat spinach alot otherwise.


5 Susan May 13, 2017 at 22:54

Wow. I thought I was the only one! I have had an issue for 35 years w Spinach. It has gotten progressively worse and a few yrs ago I ended up in the hospital. Starts with a migraine, vomiting then diarrhea with dehydration. If my food is prepared on a surface where Spinach was chopped I can get sick. Makes it difficult to go out to a restaurant.
Does anyone know if Orach is too similar to try?


6 Sharon April 13, 2017 at 11:08

I have been dealing with this for a few years now. Forgot all about it until I ate some spring mix from the market it had spinach in it, not thinking I ate it just getting over the symptoms.


7 Mindy March 15, 2017 at 10:54

Since my 20s, I have had signs of anaphylactic shock (including throat swelling, bloating and nausea) after eating spinach. I was tested by an allergist and the site for spinach swelled like a balloon. Allergist told me to avoid spinach, beet greens, and swiss chard. I am trying to figure out what dark leafy greens are OK and unrelated to spinach. It appears kale is in a different family, but unfortunately I don’t like the taste. I wonder if rapini is safe to eat as it is a mustard green and related more closely to broccoli, which I’ve had no problem with?


8 Melody April 3, 2017 at 08:17

I never experienced food allergies before . Week & 1/2 ago about two hours after drinking a spinach and fruit Smoothie, I became nauseous and started vomiting along with diarrhea . This persisted for a couple of hours straight . At that time I thought I had a stomach bug . However last night I ate cooked chopped spinach and all seemed fine until this morning . I woke up at 6 AM extremely nauseous and bloated . That persisted for an hour . And I am just now able to speak without vomiting . This seems to cause mucus which triggers the vomiting and brings on abdominal distress also.
Never eating spinach again ! I am 71 years old it is a heckuva time to develop a food allergy !


9 Mike March 9, 2017 at 20:45

I have the same diarrhea and vomiting issues with spinach. I was hospitalized after I ate pasta with a spinach pesto. The effects are progressive, starting with a bloated abdomen, then vomiting and diarrhea. I passed out this last time and was in the ER for six hours. They gave me an Epi pen but I have not used it and do not know if it will work. I can eat kale.


10 Dawn March 6, 2017 at 23:16

I too experience vomiting and coughing, watering eyes and running nose. First time, it happened, I just though I must be ill with the flu. Second time, I got suspicious. About 2 years later I tried cooked spinach instead of raw….still got sick.
I have never had a problem with spinach before. I am 44 years old now, my first issue happened about two years ago…I can’t chance it anymore. Too bad, I really like spinach, apparently it don’t like me though.


11 Rhonda CHAMBERS March 5, 2017 at 14:34

I do have a spinach allergy. It’s like rinsing my mouth out with acid. I get blisters on the roof of my mouth and the sides, and blisters my tongue and completely takes off the taste buds on my tongue. . I have avoid spinach like the plague.. I’m wondering if I could be allergic to kale to. Ate it the other day and I get that scratchy throat feeling like it’s trying to close up.. maybe this is something I should avoid.


12 Anne June 14, 2017 at 09:14

I too react to spinach like its a burning acid on my lips! With each exposure to spinach the symptoms are getting worse. The reaction seems to be delayed, up to 24 hours. I first realized it was spinach 30 years ago after reading a related magazine article. It used to just cause a cold sore like blister reaction, but now it makes my whole mouth blister and I get nausea, headache and severe trembling. Repeated exposure seems to be more and more threatening, more severe symptoms. I tried kale chips once with no reaction. I used to love spinach and now wonder if the allergy developed because I enjoyed too much of a good thing.


13 Faith February 25, 2017 at 01:54

I discovered my spinach allergy when I was snacking on fresh spinach leaves. I had bit my lip earlier, and within a few minutes, I had Angelina Jolie lips, times 3! It took about 20 – 35 minutes for the swelling to go down.

After that, any time I attempted to eat spinach, I experiencing swelling of my tongue and throat, accompanied with copious amounts of mucus.

I attempted eating organic spinach, but the reaction was faster, and lasted longer. Then I tried growing my own, to see if it was pesticides, but that allergic reaction was faster still! Over time, it’s worsened so that now I react to any leaf, including lettuce (iceburg & romaine), spring geens, cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano, bay, etc. I haven’t tried kale, yet. Whether fresh, cooked, or dried, I react the same, to various degrees of severity, based on repeated exposure — the more I try to eat it, the worse it gets.

I can still eat cabbage, thank goodness, so I switched to using green and purple cabbage as a salad base instead. Other salad bases I can still use are broccoli or green peppers.

I’ve also developed other food allergies: garbanzo beans / chick peas, fish, crab, bananas, and – just realized last month – now almonds, too. Sad!


14 Banzita February 23, 2017 at 19:17

I do suffer from multiple allergy triggers, and I seem to be developing others such as spinach allergy which I enjoyed eating my entire life. My tongue gets itchy whenever I eat raw or cooked spinach sold in the western world, but I do not have the same reaction when eating spinach in the Congo (Africa). Why?


15 Caron February 20, 2017 at 07:30

Since my hubby was diagnosed with crone’s disease he has increased the spinach in our diet and I believe that I have an intolerance to it. My chest remains sore, and there is a nasty rash which remains itchy, but when I take it easy on the spinach it eases.


16 Grant September 12, 2016 at 18:25

I’ve eaten spinach willingly most of my life, starting with frozen spinach souffle and later in all forms, fresh or cooked. It wasn’t until my mid 20’s when I realized that it caused a discomfort in my esophagus. I had loaded a turkey sandwich with a mound of fresh baby spinach. Halfway through I realized the odd discomfort that I had experienced a few days before when I sauteed spinach with garlic and a splash of vinegar. The spinach in the sandwich stood out to me as I realized what was happening and I later confirmed when I tried spinach again.
My symptoms have not been threatening yet and they recede within a few hours. No digestive issues otherwise. I have also experienced this same discomfort from Gold Peak iced tea. I’m assuming the brewed leaf content must contain a similar irritant. No other leafy green that I’ve tried has this effect; kale, collards, arugula, etc.


17 LISA NACKAN July 31, 2016 at 14:19

I’ve developed a spinach allergy after loving spinach and eating it all my life. Have been tested and have had to use Epipen on two occasions.


18 Karen June 16, 2016 at 11:50

I was relieved to find this post. Having eaten spinach and chard regularly for years, I have suddenly developed a violent reaction within about an hour of consumption. Even just a nibble of spinach has me bloated and nauseous. In a meal with a portion of spinach, I vomit and have diarrhoea.
What is in spinach to cause this? Will this allergy last?
I’m now nervous of all dark green leafy veg!


19 Heather April 17, 2016 at 20:42

I’ve been allergic to spinach since I was a toddler. The most recent time I had a reaction was when it was in a dip I ate at a Christmas party. I didn’t have symptoms as posted above, but it made me feel almost as if I was drunk (I was in 10th grade and it was a family function, so I definitely was not drinking!), except instead of being giddy I felt like I was “out of body.” My dad rushed me to the ER and they determined that it was the culprit based on my history.

I do not have reactions to anything else and eat Kale and Arugula on a regular basis.



20 Ben April 15, 2016 at 22:06

I used to each spinach salads but about four years ago, I had a spinach salad at a dinner theater and during the show, I had a hard time swallowing and then my throat started to swell up.
Figuring that it was just bad spinach, I had some spinach a couple of months later and had the same reaction.

The odd thing is that I had some cooked spinach on accident and I was fine. This reaction only seems to happen with uncooked spinach. Has anyone else experienced this?

I have also started to notice that I get similar reactions, but to a much lesser degree, with other dark greens. I’m pretty convinced it has something to do with the pesticides and junk that are used on plants, especially with so many on here saying things like “I used to eat spinach all the time”


21 Wendy January 8, 2017 at 23:29

I have the same issue. There have been 2-3 times in the past few years that I have unknowingly consumed spinach and my throat would start to swell. I have often wondered about pesticides and considered trying organic but am too afraid to risk it.


22 Tricia April 14, 2017 at 10:53

Hi Ben, I realize you wrote this over a year ago but I had the same experience with spinach and some other foods. I was making smoothies with spinach and my tongue and throat became rough and I had a terrible cough and would loose my voice. The doctors kept treating me for gastric problems but I knew it was something else. Then I figured out it was spinach. i had to quit my job because I lost my voice! I stopped the green smoothies and within a week all symptoms were gone. I suffered with this for almost 6 months. i have trouble with other greens also. Unfortunately I have no idea what causes this.


23 Rea March 29, 2016 at 16:51

I believe I have a spinach intolerance due to the fact that every time I eat it I get the runs for only a few hours. The most current episode included body aches and a low fever and the diarrhea continued for a 24 hr. period, ugh! What to do you think attributed to the extra symptoms?


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