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Key Allergens

Lotus seeds are the edible part of the lotus plant. They are in the Nelumbonaceae family of plants which are aquatic. Lotus seeds are high in Vitamin B and protein and are commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The roots and flowers of the lotus plant are also edible and used in traditional medicine.

Parts of the plant contain gibberellin regulated proteins.

One of the proteins in lotus seeds has been categorised as Pru ar 1-like, which is a Bet v 1 protein. These proteins can be responsible for oral allergy type symptoms, which is also sometimes called Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome. Cooking or freezing foods that contain these allergens can damage them and stop them from causing allergic reactions.

Food Intolerances

Food is moderate in sulphites Food is moderate in lectins Food is low in salicylates Food is low in FODMAP

If lotus seed is preserved it can be 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.

Lotus seeds are a low FODMAP food. FODMAP stands for Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause symptoms of food intolerance, affecting the gastro intestinal system and this can be mistaken for a true IgE food allergy.

Lotus seeds are also low 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.

Lotus seeds 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.

Associated Syndromes

Lotus root has been linked to Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome. The symptoms of this are called oral allergy symptoms and affect the lips, nose, mouth, throat and tongue. Generally these symptoms are mild and will go away with antihistamine.

Cross Reactivity

Other foods which contain gibberellins include chilli, orange, cherry, apricot, peach and pomegranate.

Other foods which contain Bet v 1 include soyabeans, peanut, celery, mung beans, tomato, raspberry, pear, peach, cherry, apricot, apple, strawberry, carrot, chicory and kiwi.

Note these food lists are not exhaustive, you can find the most up to date information on the Cross Reactivity Tool.



Science Direct - Lotus Seed

Science Direct - Lotus genus

FODMAP Everyday - Low FODMAP Foods

BDA - Salicylates

Articles and Journals

Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera): a multidisciplinary review of its cultural, ecological, and nutraceutical significance, 2024

A comprehensive review on lotus seeds (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.): Nutritional composition, health-related bioactive properties, and industrial applications, 2022

Gibberellins, brassinolide, and ethylene signaling were involved in flower differentiation and development in Nelumbo nucifera, 2022

Lotus seeds (Nelumbinis semen) as an emerging therapeutic seed: A comprehensive review, 2021

Putative Allergens Identified in Mango (Mangifera indica Linn) Leaf and Fruit with Transcriptome Analysis, 2020

Flavonoids from Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn., a Medicinal Plant: Uses in Traditional Medicine, Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Activities, 2018

Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome in Korean Pollinosis Patients: A Nationwide Survey, 2018

Characteristic and functional properties of Thai lotus seed (Nelumbo nucifera) flours, 2017

AAAAI - Possible Reaction to Lotus Seed, 2013

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