Food Families

What is a Food Family and how is it used?

This year I've been studying up on allergies, immunology, irritable bowel, immune modulated food reactions, and mediator release through the LEAP program (and honestly, on UpToDate as well!).  [[Much more to come on LEAP!]]  Food families are part of this study process and I just thought I'd share a few small items with you.

Food Families are a grouping of foods that are similarly digested and reacted to by the immune system within the body.  Understanding food families can help RDs to build menus with greater variety for people with multiple food intolerances, and also help to determine what foods they might also be reactive to.

Some interesting combos:

Cashew, pistachio, mango - I've certainly come accross clients that have an intolerance to tree nuts and mangos, an interesting combination in my opinion.

Onions, garlic, chives, leeks, shallots, green onion, asparagus, aloe vera - I don't think I've ever come across someone with any of these intolerances, but I found it interesting because who would have placed aloe vera and asparagus with an onion?  Sometimes food and digestion isn't intuitive...

Coconut, date, hearts of palm - Again, nothing intuitive about this food family.

Almond, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, plum, prune - Another common combination as almonds come from the core of peaches.  Ever wondered why you react to cherries, plums, and almonds?  The fact that they're in the same food family is the reason!


No health tips coming out of this post, just wanted to open your eyes to an interesting component of the RD world.  I find that the more I learn about intolerances and the relationships of food and digestion and conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), the more I love it!