Courgette is also known as zucchini in the USA, but is also known as marrow and summer squash. Courgettes are in the Cucurbitaceae
family of plants which includes cucumber, melon and watermelon.
Courgettes are grown from the plant Cucurbita pepo
, a subspecies of this plant also grow pumpkins
and gourds. They are rarely documented as causing food allergies.
For those that do experience allergies after consuming courgette the allergens responsible are thought to be plant profilins
When pickled, courgettes/zucchini are high in sulphites
. Sulphites are inorganic salts used in preservations and have the potential to cause symptoms of food intolerance to those sensitive to sulphites, this food intolerance is more common in asthmatics. An improvement in symptoms can be made with a change to a low sulphite diet.
Courgette is a food high in salicylates
. Salicylates have the potential to cause worsening of asthma, swelling, itching and hives as well as food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.
Courgette is one of the few vegetables to contain a moderate amount of lectins
, another cause of food intolerance. Cooking foods with lectins makes them more digestible and can reduce the symptoms of food intolerance.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
Allergy to courgette has been linked to Latex Food Syndrome
, this is caused by the body confusing the proteins it encounters in food to that of latex proteins to which it is already sensitised.
Courgette allergy is also linked to Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome
for people who suffer from grass allergies. This is where is the body confuses allergens it is sensitised in grass to those it finds in foods.
Those with a sensitivity to latex may have linked allergies to foods which contain high levels of chitinase, like avocado, chestnuts, corn (maize), kiwi, papaya, pomegranate and tomatoes.
If suffering from Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome you may suffer allergy to grass pollen, pumpkins, cucumber and melons.
Allergen Encyclopedia - Pumpkin
DermNet NZ - Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome
Anaphylaxis Campaign - Allergy to Vegetables
Allergy information for: Courgette, zucchini (Cucurbita pepo)
Science Direct - Profilin
Salicylate Sensitivity: Causes, Symptoms and Foods to Avoid
Articles and Journals
A Review on the Journey of edible flowers from farm to consumer's plate, 2023
An unusual case of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome due to zucchini, 2022
Dietary Lectins: Gastrointestinal and Immune Effects, 2020
Molecular approach to a patient’s tailored diagnosis of the oral allergy syndrome, 2020
Food processing and occupational respiratory allergy‐ An EAACI position paper, 2019
Is fruit and vegetable intake associated with asthma or chronic rhino-sinusitis in European adults? Results from the Global Allergy and Asthma Network of Excellence (GA2 LEN) Survey, 2017
Medicinal bioactivites and allergenic properties of pumpkin seeds: review upon a pediatric food anaphylaxis case report, 2017
A case of allergy to Zucchini, 2012
Turnip and zucchini: New vegetables responsible for crossreactivity between latex and plant-derived foods, 2006
Allergens in celery and zucchini, 2002
Allergy caused by ingestion of zucchini (Cucurbita pepo): characterization of allergens and cross-reactivity to pollen and other foods, 2000
Latex allergy: clinical features and cross-reactivity with fruits, 1994
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