Can you be allergic to cucumber? Surely not.
It’s just made of water and little bit of fibre, isn’t it?
Cucumbers are actually made up of about 96% water, have only 5 calories per ounce and a small amount of vitamin C and trace minerals.
Cucumbers are a healthy fruit from the marrow family which also includes pumpkin, courgette and other squashes which are also called gourds. They are creeping vines and grow low along the ground.
100 grams of cucumber contains:
- Vitamin A 180 I.U.
- Niacin Trace
- Vitamin C 9 mg.
- Calcium 32 mg.
- Iron 1.8 mg.
- Phosphorus 27 mg.
- Potassium 80 mg.
- Carbohydrates 17 gm.
- Calories 70
Bet you weren’t expecting the humble cuke to contain all that now were you?
Some of the reported health benefits include:
- Cucumber is best natural diuretic known, secreting and promoting the flow of urine
- Helps in kidney and urinary bladder disease, Liver disease and Pancreatic disease
- The potassium content of cucumber makes it highly useful for conditions of high and low blood pressure.
- Cucumber contains erepsin, the enzyme that helps to digest protein
- The high silicon and sulphur content of the cucumber is said to promote the growth of hair, especially when the juice of the cucumber is added to the juice of carrot, lettuce and spinach.
- A mixture of cucumber juice with carrot juice is said to be beneficial for rheumatic conditions resulting from excessive uric acid in the body.
- Cucumber juice is also valuable for helping diseases of the teeth, gums, especially in cases of pyorrhea.
- The high mineral content of this vegetable also helps to prevent splitting of nails of the fingers and toes.
- Cucumber, radish and bitter gourd are beneficial in diabetes.
These fantastic cuke facts are from Deborah Mumm, The Allergy Queen
So what is it about cucumber that might cause an allergic reaction?
What is oral allergy syndrome?
Oral Allergy Sydrome (OAS) is an IgE-mediated immune response, which is sometimes called a “true allergy”. The body’s immune system produces IgE antibodies against pollen; in OAS, these antibodies also bind to (or cross-react with) other structurally similar proteins found in botanically related plants.
So basically, somebody with hay fever to certain pollen may also react to one or more fruits, herbs or vegetables which have a similar protein structure. The body recognises the food as an allergen and can cause tingling around the mouth, lips and tongue.
People with hay fever to ragweed pollen may also cross react with: banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, green pepper, paprika, sunflower seeds/oil, honeydew, watermelon, zucchini, echinacea, artichoke, dandelions, honey (if bees pollinate from wild flowers), hibiscus or chamomile tea.
This reaction may come and go and be more severe during the hay fever season.
So, basically, yes you can have an allergy type reaction to cucumber but it’s likely to be caused by oral allergy syndrome and not be a true, life threatening allergy.
However, it is possible for someone to be allergic to just about anything, so whilst it’s very rare, someone could be allergic to cucumber. It’s far more common in Far Eastern countries.
I’ve written about this in ‘Is it allergy, Oral allergy syndrome, or LPT?
High salicylate foods
Cucumbers also come under the umbrella of foods containing salicylates which are chemicals which occur naturally in many foods, the skin of some fruit, tea and aspirin. If you are sensitive to salicylate you may experience wheezing and urticaria. Different foods contain different levels of the chemical. To find out more visit Mastcell360’s blog and read Salicylates and Salicylate foods here.
Check out The Salicylate Handbook on Amazon.
References and resources
- It seems that cucumber allergy is far more common in other countries. Read Alex Gazzola’s article, “Food Allergy in India and Asia”.
- The 10 health benefits of cucumbers
You may also find the following blogs interesting
So are you allergic to cucumbers? Luckily it’s not one of my allergies and I enjoy eating cucumbers regularly. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve had a reaction to cucumber.
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
I like your recent change from photos to sketches. Keep it up!
Are you sure? I just thought it would be a bit of fun and if I have nothing to photograph, what is there that’s more unique and fun than my awful drawings, that is until I can afford to get some proper cartoons done by an animator. I can dream.
rare child says
i’m allergic to cucumbers
Jennifer Hays says
me too…had an allergy test done. It came back saying I am allergic to lemon, cucumber, lettuce, green bell pepper, cherry. strawberry, raspberries, milk, eggs, rye, and air born allergies are mold, and ragweed….the food portion are all foods I love!!! I suffer from severe hives (5 years now) and asthma. Getting older sucks.
Ruth Holroyd says
Gosh that’s a lot of allergies. That sucks. I’m not so allergic to stuff like that, just nuts, milk, wheat and soya.
Interesting reading. I have allergies that seem to flare up when I eat certain foods
Listed in my food diary such as nuts watermelon apples cucumbers etc
Reading your content explained the cucumber more in depth. I actually got symptoms just from applying cucumbers
Around my eyes as a tired eye mask
So now I know even that is unsuitable
Hi Steve, yes amazing that the humble cuke which appears to be just water can affect some of us like this. People can also react to lettuce which just seems so inocuous and harmless. You may also have oral allergy syndrome where certain fruits and vegetables cross react with hay fever pollens. You’ll just have to have an early night instead of the cucumber eye mask. Probably had the complete opposite effect if it made them all itchy and sore. I find cold/damp herbal tea bags on the eyes very refreshing. I use rooibosh. Thanks for the comment. It’s so nice to hear what people think. I thought I was the only crazy reacting to this.
It might be salicylate intolerance when several vegetables and fruits cause a reaction. Tea would cause a reaction in that case.
Thanks for replying . It’s odd I remember doing the cucumber slices before for puffy eyes and I had the same reaction where my eyes seemed worse later as the day progressed , red puffy and eye lid inflammation.
I also found that my eyes seem to of worsened after I added blueberries strawberries or kiwi fruit to my whole grain cereal
I’ve gone through over 200 shampoos in the last few years where I thought they were the cause alone
Some of those being organic too but no luck. I found in those a common ingredient causing severe to mild eye lid watering or burning
I have only one or two that worked like the sunsilk range and alba
Even goats milk soap or olive oil soap didn’t help with all the added oils they added
All either irritated my eyes or dried my scalp
I even cut out walnuts almonds which I found belong to the causes of ragweed pollen allergies
If you know of any shampoo for normal hair that wouldn’t be a trigger for my eye reaction or scalp dryness that I haven’t tried I’d appreciate
I have combo skin t zone scalp dry nose oily
A lot of very lovely natural oils can cause irritation to sensitive skin so they are not always the best thing. As for shampoo, I use Nizoral and Neutrogena as i have a very dry scalp. What is the ingredient you need to avoid? You could visit your local health food shop and see if they stock Jason shampoo, an australian brand which is excellent. Also Health in Nature do some lovely shampoo with simple natural ingredients. Ask if they have samples you could try before buying a whole bottle. I also find washing my hair and not allowing any shampoo to wash over my face and eyes helps. All shampoos will irritate your eyes, especially if you’re sensitive there. Good luck! ps. Have you tried TreSemme? I find their shampoo surprisingly ok for me but I use the sensitive skin one as have very dry skin.
Thanks for replying
I don’t know the common ingredients
If I did , id be a genius 🙂
I believe my allergies are stress related and the shampoo food and everything else are mere triggers
I’ve been meditating more which is very effective
Currently I’m using sunsilk color which seems to be good , slightly drying but not bad
I haven’t tried Jason shampoos although I’ve read a lot about them.
I tried tresemme shampoos they’re irritating and drying I’m afraid
Tina McCann says
I actually have an allergy to cucumbers it’s a rare condition but it’s possible I’ve had it my whole life and have never been able to handle them and I usually will have an oral reaction and hives when injesting them I also can’t have any type of squash, gourds, or peppers
When I eat cucumbers I itch all over like CRAZY & feel like I’m burning up.
I took 2 Benedryl & 2 hours later still itching but not as bad.
Do you think I’m allergic to pickles also?
Just now figuring out cucumbers as the culprit.
Ruth Holroyd says
It’s so hard working out these little triggers isn’t it? All I can suggest is to keep a food, mood and symptoms diary so you can look back and see what’s causing you reactions in the future. Good luck with the detective work.
Thats tough. I’ve actually slowly
Introduced in tiny amounts the foods I listed as allergic and have now incorporated it into my daily diet
Such as nuts berries and peppers
I found out I had chronic blepharitis
Which was triggered by shampoos
Now with ointments prescribed
I am free to eat whatever
Hi, I have been trying to decide if I am having an allergic reaction to cucumbers, melons of any kind, bananas, sometimes apples and corn. I don’t itch or break out when I try to eat it rather I get very nauseous. Its not even immediate, I eat like a few bites then the onset, I stop and try to keep eating. ( I figure it might be a mind thing). It wasn’t always like this. As a kid I had no problem but since late teens it seems to get worse. Any ideas? Would love to eat watermelon again?
A. Bollin says
This was quite eye-opening. I have just recently been tested for allergies (not a lot, as I’m paying out of pocket) after I had a trip to the ER with anaphylaxis and had no idea I was dealing with food allergies, other than chocolate, prior to that day. I knew exactly what I ate before going to the ER – turkey ham on toast. I checked the turkey ham (didn’t think about the bread) and saw other than turkey, it contained four different sodium “blah blahs” as preservatives and artificial coloring. I guessed that the artificial ingredients were definitely the culprits and began eating all natural immediately. I had some relief but noticed I was still having lesser reactions (flushing skin around my face & neck, sinus on left side of my face swelling in a painful manner that pushed down to my teeth and jaw and mucus production – not fun, quite painful but less than closing off my windpipe!). I knew then that it had to have been more than artificial ingredients.
My test came back with the 4 common trees, 4 common grasses and 2 common weeds as well as cats, dogs, molds all negative. On a hunch and hindsight, I added in corn, cucumber, strawberries and grapes. The corn was most prominently positive, then cucumber and mildly strawberries. Grapes were negative.
This was just last Friday that I was tested, so it is all so new to me. I avoided the obvious, but was wondering what may be related to cucumber or corn. I just ate a chopped salad, no artificial anythings (and touted this on the bag), it was made up of cabbage, kale, carrots, red cabbage, green onions, sunflower seeds and a citrus dressing (also all natural). Darn if I didn’t have a reaction within minutes after eating it! I am sitting here in pain as I type 🙁
Anyone have any helpful input or advice? I am soooo tired of dealing with this and willing to avoid foods – not without grudge mind you – but absolutely would prefer cravings over death or constantly having painful experiences like this. Thank you so much!
I do t know if you looked into it after posting this, but I just discovered that apparently some people with cucumber allergies have it stem from an an allergy to ragweed, and sunflower seeds are listed as a possible related allergy. I have problems with some of the foods associated, but luckily never noticed it with sunflower seeds. That could be what you were reacting to though.
Yes lots of food allergies can be cross reactions with hay fever allergies. Some people find they eat the food outside the hay fever season without reaction. Have you heard of oral allergy syndrome? I find for me, with cucumber, it is worse during the pollen season for cross reacting plants. Very interesting how clever our bodies are at identifying these foods and plants. Very annoying too but you have to marvel at the complexity of the human body. Thanks for sharing.
Did you have any condiments on the sandwich? I ended up in an ambulance twice after eating hot dogs with mustard. They thought it was the nitrites setting me off. Nope, turns out I am highly allergic to Tumeric that was in the mustard. Closed my throat right up. I have to read all labels now as they put Tumeric in everything now!
I am also allergic to ragweed and the things related to it. I feel nauseous from most of them and I will throw carrots right up.
When I was a child, up until around my teenage years, I was extremely allergic to cucumbers. But my symptoms were different from what is listed here. My eyes would swell almost completely shut to the point I could barely see, they would also be very res and extremely itchy. It was terrible. Luckily I grew out of that allergy somehow… I LOVE cucumbers now!!
somehow am allergic to cucumbers, whenever i eat it i always get this spots all over my hands and those spots get liquid stuff in them, i don’t use anything but it takes almost a month before it clears off, its soooo embarrassing whenever somehow offers me a hand shake i will be ashamed to bring out my hand am tired of that already but i love cucumber. I just wonder if there is any thing i can apply to my hand to make it go away please anyone help me.
Hi Derby Timi, I’m not sure what will work for you but I find applying a hot compress, like a hot water bottle, and/or ice can help redue itching. Also I use aloe vera if I’ve scratched them and caused them to burst and scab. I also use Skin Salvation pure potions emollient to soothe and heal. Also try some epsom salt baths as this aids healing too and reduces inflammation. Not nice for you. And don’t worry about your hands. Most people have not noticed I’m sure. Get your skin out. Don’t worry what it looks like. It really doesn’t matter in the scheme of things and all these trials make you stronger in the long run.
I had a similar problem related to what seemed to be contact dermatitis with hand sops and other detergents. It got so bad at one point that nothing I tried seemed to have any effect anymore. I use a Rose Ointment now that makes it go away pretty quickly, and keep them moisturized to avoid the onset (obviously that part is related to the cause, though I am allergic to cucumbers it’s not my trigger because I never eat them) Hope that helps!
Try a zinc ointment used for diaper rash.
My daughter is in fact allergic to cucumbers, as well as many other foods. She has also been diagnosed with oral allergies. This does not make her cucumber allergy any less life threatening.
I have found that apples have also
Given me similar symptoms to cucumbers such as sore irritated eye lids .
I’ll have to examine all foods that
Cause the oral allergy symptoms
Anyone else have issues with
Apples strawberries and cucumbers?
Ruth Holroyd says
Hi Steve, I think you may have what’s called Oral Allergy Syndrome. Ask your doctor about this. Or look it up on the Allergy UK website. It is where you get mild itchy, irritate reactions to some fruit and vegetables. It should not be life threatening but is quite unpleasant.
Since I’ve eliminated fruit nuts from my diet and noticed an improvement
In my condition .
I have an allergy to cucumbers, which includes hives and swelling of the throat. It is an allergy I have had all my life. But have no other allergies listed above. I have to carry and epi pen. I can not even be a room with them after they have been cut. I do not even have to injest them.
Ruth Holroyd says
Gosh that sounds like a very serious allergy. How do you cope eating out of there are salads being served with cucumber on it in restaurants? Scary stuff!
Me too!!!!!! It’s nice to see I’m not alone!
I even have walked through an area they were cut & I didn’t know- next thing I knew I was waking up to an Epi pen in my thigh & paramedics!
Ruth Holroyd says
Gosh that’s tough. I don’t have such a bad airborne allergy. I think it’s hard as it’s not one of the recognised allergies. Take care, those cukes can be hiding everywhere.
Dianne Lederman says
Hello, I have had this happen as well. When I cut up cucumbers one or two of my fingers will swell up and feel numb. It also happens when I peel zucchini. I have found washing off my hands good and taking some Benadryl helps it to go away.
Ruth Holroyd says
Have you considered wearing gloves to cut them. So you can eat these foods but chopping them or contact with your skin causes a reaction? How very bizarre!
I discovered I was allergic to cucumber skin. The one time I made a salad, and didn’t peel the cucumber, I wheezed the entire night, like my lungs were working overtime. Today I was peeling a new designer cucumber, I believe it is called a lemon cucumber. Round and yellow. I didn’t even eat any….peeling them, alone, caused that same reaction.
Ruth Holroyd says
Gosh, Andre, just peeling them. They seem such innocuous vegetables don’t they. So you can eat them without the skin can you? That’s so weird. I wonder if it’s anything to do with the pesticides or chemicals on the food? I would steer clear of them if you can. Not sure if wearing a mask and gloves to peel them would help… Thanks for sharing.
I think most allergies are pesticide and chemical caused or Hybrid issues….. almost all orange carrots are hybrids developed over 100 years ago by the dutch. Dr Sebi refuses to eat hybrid vegetables, the body cannot digest them properly
Ruth Holroyd says
I’ve never heard of this before. Thanks for raising this subject. I’ll look into it. Very interesting.
I’ve had a problem with cucumber since the first day I ate a cuke sandwich nearly 50 years ago. It knocks me flat! It puts me to bed for up the threee days, depending on level of exposure. Nothing else on this planet bothers me, never ill, never had the flue or even a headache, but this stuff kills me.
I’m allergic to cucumber. After each time having two to three pieces of slice cucumber I feel burning sensation in the front of my tongue. And it last about two to three weeks. I went to doctor but no help. Only help is I have to quit cucumber.
Ruth Holroyd says
That is the only thing you can do really when you have an allergy, but I guess getting tests then confirms it if you can get those done.
Just yesterday I had four pieces of cucumber and immediately felt pain in my stomach , mild congestion and red runny eyes. It’s weird because I never had a reaction before.
Matthew Andersen says
I’m just wondering if there is a name for the allergy I have to a group foods seemingly from similar plants?
And what is the name of this group of plants?
I am allergic to pepper, cucumber, capsicum, watermelon, and honeydew. Oddly enough I have no trouble with zucchini, squash, or pumpkin from the same group of plants. Maybe it’s because they are eaten cooked. If I eat cooked capsicum the reaction I get is much less as well. I basically get pain, bloating, and burning through my gastrointestinal tract. Any assistance in better understanding this would be appreciated.
Look into Salicylate intolerance. If you want to figure it out quickly try an elimination diet of just meat and keep a food diary. You will know in less than a month.
Cheryl Harden says
This week I made my first DIY cucumber facial, using an English cucumber. I wash the skin and peel before juicing. The other ingredients involved had all been used before in previous facials. Such as corn starch, Indian clay, olive oil, and vitamins D and E.. I even ate some of the cucumbers and had a sip of the juice before mixing. ingredients together. On the first day applied all was successful The second day I had rash only on my left hand. My face and right hand were smooth and soft. I rinsed my skin properly and applied a vitamin serum, within hours the rash disappeared. Now I’m unsure if I experienced a rash or a dry patch area of skin. My only option is to make another batch and delete one ingredient (Indian clay) that may cause drying skin.
Ruth Holroyd says
Detective work begins! It does sound like it was something in that facial. But if you can eat cucumbers OK would it be that? Food, mood and symptoms diary and experiment i’d say.
I have been eating a lot of cucumbers and got a lot of soars in my mouth and tongue, the cucumbers is the only thing different I have had
Ruth Holroyd says
It could be! Cut them out for a week and see if it happens again!
As someone who is DEATHLY allergic to cucumbers/pickles, but NOT watermelon or pumpkin, etc, I can safely say your allergy information is not accurate.
I cannot touch, smell, or taste cucumber. I have handled a drink I did not know cucumbers were in and had to use my Epi pen. I walked through the spot where a cucumber had been cut- unbeknownst to me- and had to use my Epi pen as my throat closed up, and if I should touch one with my mouth it’s Epi pen & 911 time. Using facial cleanser or masks is challenging because most use cucumbers & I look like “Harry Potter” when he got hit with the “Stinging Charm” by “Hermione” .
So, after different types of allergy testing & life I know that if I am near a cucumber I can EASILY go into anaphylaxis.
Ruth Holroyd says
That must be so scary. Just to walk past a place where cucumber was cut. It’s so weird the things we are all allergic to. I hope you don’t come across any more hiding cukes. Take care allergy peeps