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Why Does Celery Make My Tongue Numb?

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Why Does Celery Make My Tongue Numb?

Have you ever had a strange sensation of numbness on your tongue after eating celery? If this is the case, you are not alone.

While celery is a crisp and refreshing vegetable that is frequently commended for its low calorie and high water content, some people have an odd reaction—a tingling or numbing feeling on the tongue.

Let us investigate the causes of this remarkable phenomenon.

Why Does Celery Make My Tongue Numb?

Natural Compounds In Celery Are To Blame

Celery includes natural substances, most notably phthalides, which are organic chemicals. 3-n-Butylphthalide, a phthalide present in celery, is responsible for the vegetable’s distinct flavor and scent.

While phthalides add to celery’s general health advantages, they also play a role in the tingling feeling that some people experience.

Phthalide Sensitivity

Not everyone reacts the same way to celery. Individuals who are sensitive or allergic to phthalides may suffer tingling or numbness in their tongues after eating celery.

This sensitivity varies from person to person, and although some may not notice any impacts, others may notice them more strongly.

Pollen Allergies And Cross-Reactivity

Interestingly, for some people, the tingling feeling may be caused by a condition known as oral allergy syndrome (OAS) rather than a direct sensitivity to phthalides.

Celery is a member of the Apiaceae family, which also contains carrots, parsley, and cilantro. People who are allergic to pollen, particularly birch or mugwort pollen, may have cross-reactivity, resulting in mouth discomfort when eating celery.

Reactions Of Enzymes

Another component that contributes to the tongue-numbing feeling is polyphenol oxidase, which is found in celery.

This enzyme combines with particular molecules when celery is chopped or chewed, presumably producing byproducts that cause the tingling sensation.

Individual Differences In Taste Perception

Aside from allergies and enzyme responses, there is also the issue of personal taste perception.

Some people are more sensitive to certain aromas or textures, and their taste buds may react more noticeably to celery’s distinctive components.

Sensation Management

If you adore celery but find the tingling sensation irritating, you can try the following strategies:

Cooking Celery: Cooking celery can sometimes lower the strength of the tingling feeling because heat can change the molecules responsible.

Blanching: Blanching celery briefly in hot water before eating may help reduce the reaction.

Combining Celery with Other Foods: Combining celery with other foods in a dish may help to alleviate the discomfort since the flavors and textures interact differently when eaten together.

Consultation with a Healthcare Professional: If the sensation is prolonged or causes discomfort, it is best to see a doctor to rule out any underlying allergies or sensitivities.

Is There Anything Else I Could Be Allergic To?*

Some people who are allergic to celery may also have symptoms when consuming seemingly unrelated items.

This is known as cross-reactivity, and it occurs when your immune system recognizes proteins, or components, in distinct substances as structurally similar or physiologically related, resulting in a response.

Cherries, peaches, hazelnuts, peanuts, and carrots are the most common cross-reactivities with celery.

Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS), or Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome (PFAS), occurs when you have an itchy mouth or throat after eating celery or other comparable fresh fruits or raw vegetables.

This illness is also caused by your immune system’s sensitivity to homologous proteins, or components, found in plant foods and tree pollens.

It is quite prevalent, with up to 25% of children suffering from allergic rhinitis (i.e., hay fever) also experiencing OAS while eating fruits or vegetables.

Birch and mugwort are two common pollen allergies that might elicit OAS while eating celery.

Do I Have To Avoid All Types Of Celery?

Celery has a variety of proteins, each with unique properties that may be associated with a varied risk of triggering severe allergic reactions. Some persons who are allergic to celery may be able to eat it if it is thoroughly heated (cooked), as high temperatures break down the causal proteins.

Celery should be avoided entirely by other patients since it has the potential to induce a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. Your specific risk profile is determined by the proteins to which you are allergic.

Knowing which proteins or components of each allergen are causing your symptoms might help guide your management strategy.

Keeping this in mind, and based on your symptom history, your healthcare practitioner may recommend a particular IgE component test, which can help uncover other pollens and foods to which you may be allergic.

While the tingling or numbing sensation generated by celery can be unexpected, it is normally safe. Understanding the natural components of celery, as well as individual differences in sensitivity, can assist in debunking this experience. If you appreciate celery and want to keep it in your diet, experimenting with alternative cooking methods or seeking individualized advice from a healthcare professional can improve your eating experience.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find it helpful.

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