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Key Allergens

Turnips are in the Brassicaceae family of plants. Other plants in this food family includes rapeseed (canola), cabbage, papaya and mustard.

Turnips are usually small and white, larger ones which turn yellow are called swedes in the UK and rutabaga in the US. There are 3 food allergens associated with turnip allergy.

Bra r 1 is a 2S albumin protein. These are seed storage proteins most commonly found in nuts and seeds.

Bra r 2 is prohevein protein which is used in the plant for defence. Hevein proteins are linked to Latex Food Syndrome.

Bra r 3 is a polcalcin protein. These are panallergens, but are usually associated with airway allergies (plant pollens). In turnips this allergen is unique as it has been identified as a food allergen.

Turnips and swedes contain furanocoumarins. These chemicals can get on the skin and in combination with ultraviolet light (sunlight) can cause a sunburn like rash. Furanocoumarins are found in higher concentrations in fresh herbs and are natural irritants which can cause allergic contact dermatitis. This is more common in occupations where you are frequently coming into contact with the food, like chefs, cooks, growers and pickers.

Food Intolerances

Food is low in FODMAP Food is low in salicylates

Turnips 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.

Turnips are low in salicylates. Salicylates have the potential to cause gastrointestinal food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.

You can read more about Food Intolerances on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.

Associated Syndromes

Turnips contain prohevein which is similar in shape to those of latex plants, which can cause those suffering from Latex Food Syndrome to have allergic reactions to turnips.

Cross Reactivity

Other food containing 2S albumin seed storage proteins are cashews, peanuts, brazil nuts, mustard seed, rapeseed, pecans, chickpeas, hazelnuts, pistachio, buckwheat, soya, sunflower seeds, walnuts, kiwi, castor beans and sesame seeds.

Those with a sensitivity to hevein may have linked allergies to foods which contain high levels of chitinase, like banana, avocado, chestnuts, corn (maize), kiwi, papaya, pomegranate and tomatoes.

Other plants which contain polcalcin proteins as airway allergens are alder, ragweed, wormwood, birch, olive and lilac.

These allergen lists are not exhaustive. The Cross Reactivity Tool has the most up to date allergen information.



Science Direct - Brassica rapa

Allergy information for: Turnip (Brassica rapa)

Healthline - FODMAP Foods

ATP Science - Salicylate Foods

Articles and Journals

Reported food-related symptoms and food allergen sensitization in a selected adult population in Hyderabad, India: A hospital-based survey, 2024

Naturally Occurring Plant Food Toxicants and the Role of Food Processing Methods in Their Detoxification, 2023

Nutritional management of immediate hypersensitivity to legumes in vegetarians, 2022

Kohlrabi cross-reactivity with latex causing allergic angioedema and anaphylaxis: A challenging case, 2019

A Comprehensive Review on Mustard-Induced Allergy and Implications for Human Health, 2017

Sensitization and allergy to turnip rape: a comparison between the Finnish and French children with atopic dermatitis, 2009

2S Albumin Storage Proteins: What Makes them Food Allergens? 2008

Turnip and zucchini: New vegetables responsible for cross reactivity between latex and plant-derived foods, 2007

Napins, 2S albumins, are major allergens in oilseed rape and turnip rape, 2006

Allergy to turnip greens, 2004

Increased allergen production in turnip (Brassica rapa) by treatments activating defense mechanisms, 1999

Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful. If you spot an article or research that you think is interesting you can message me or tag me on Facebook or Twitter - links at the bottom of the page.

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