We all have witnessed the taste of coconut, be it sweet, light, rich, or savory. It adds a special taste to everything you wish to add it in. It has always been a versatile fruit i.e you can enhance the flavor of any dish with this amazing ingredient.
But when in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) added it in the category of nuts, many people, primarily people with nut-allergies, got confused that whether it would be safe to consume coconut as a nut for them or not. In this post, we will try to answer this query in the maximum depth possible. Let us get started.
Is coconut as a nut safe for people with nut allergies or not?
Coconut was earlier considered as a fruit, but after the guidelines highlighted by FDA about the coconut, the category under which Coconut would fall became a gray area. The Coconut’s outer layer is known as exocarp, which is the visible layer of the Coconut. Then the next layer is known to be fibrous mesocarp or husk. The final layer of the Coconut is the endocarp, which surrounds the seed and is very hard and strong. The coconut is a single-seeded drupe or a fruit with a hard covering over its seed; that is why it fulfills one of the criteria of being a nut more than a fruit.
But according to some botanists, a coconut can’t be considered a true nut as are walnuts and pecans because true nuts are indehiscent (i.e., they do not split open to release their seeds when ripened). Instead, they are dehisced, i.e., the seed germinates and then sprouts from the end of the shell, which later on splits.
According to the ACAAI (American College Of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology), people who are allergic to nuts can safely eat coconuts as the ACAAI does not consider coconut as a botanical nut. The same claim has been made by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education Network). However, people who are allergic to coconuts cannot consume them. The signs of a reaction when a person allergic to coconut eats it includes hives, itchiness, stomach pain, shortness of breath, and even anaphylaxis. In case, if you or anyone else around you is severely allergic to tree-nuts, then it is often advised keeping your health in mind to ask your doctor before consuming the coconut.