According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, an allergy to peanuts is one of the most common food allergies found in children in the United States. Among that group, 20 percent will outgrow the allergy, but for those who don’t (or have yet to), or those following a specific diet, shopping for nut-free pantry staples is an absolute must. So what exactly makes a food nut-free? What foods could potentially hide nut allergens? And what nut-free foods are worth stocking up on? Let’s break down what the product label “nut-free” really means.
What Is Nut-Free?
Because peanut allergies can be dangerous, U.S. food manufacturers must make certain information clear on labels. That is, whether a food contains peanuts or tree nuts, or whether it’s produced using equipment that processes other foods with nuts (since cross-contamination can occur). Therefore, a truly “nut-free” food is not only free of all nuts, but also manufactured using nut-free equipment.
Benefits of Nut-Free
While the obvious benefit of avoiding nuts if you have an allergy is to eliminate the risk of a reaction, some diets advocate eating nut-free (or free of certain nuts) based on other health benefits. In many cases, as in the Whole30 diet and Paleo diet, peanuts are eliminated because they fall into the category of legumes. Turns out that legumes—peanuts included—contain phytic acid, which can impair the absorption of key minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium.
Tips for Eating Nut-Free
The most important thing you can do in an effort to eat nut-free is to read labels carefully. And be sure to use the “Nut-Free” filter when shopping foods on Thrive Market.
If you don’t have a label to guide you, be aware that peanuts can often hide in processed foods like snacks and candy. Also be aware that Asian dishes and food products may include peanut oil or peanut sauces.
Tree nuts can sometimes hide in sauces (think barbecue sauce or pesto) and salad dressings—so again, scan labels, and if you’re eating out or at a party, don’t be afraid to ask.
Top Nut-Free Brands
Stock your pantry with this nut-free favorites.
You won’t forget to take your vitamins when they come in delicious gummy form. This supplement staple is free of synthetic colors, artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives (and is totally nut-free).
SmartyPants Adult Complete & Fiber
Each convenient gummy offers a daily dose of essential nutrients like vitamin B6, iodine, and zinc—plus 6g of dietary fiber.
Load up on nutrients without worrying about exposure to nuts with organic, green superfoods that are sustainably made from high-quality ingredients. Each Amazing Grass product is full of nutrients and conveniently packaged—perfect for a busy lifestyle.
Get an energy boost and promote detoxification with this powerful blend of nutritious greens, phytonutrient-packed fruits, veggies, cereal grasses, digestive enzymes, and probiotics.
Got a thing for snacking but not so into preservatives and artificial flavors? Late July keeps it real with chips that are made from simple, organic ingredients for big, bold flavor.
Spice up your chip game with a little jalapeno and zesty lime over organic whole-ground corn Plus, these nut-free, gluten-free snacks are also certified organic.
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