White Bean Allergy Test
Latin name: Phaseolus vulgaris
Source material: Dried beans
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common names: White bean, Cannellini bean, Marrow bean, Great northern bean, White kidney bean, Haricot bean
Synonyms: P. vulgaris var. humilis
White bean is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
White Bean Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Despite the name, white beans may vary in colour from creamy white to a pale green hue. The name more broadly refers to varieties of bean with light coloured, if not entirely white seeds. They are more delicately flavoured than the closely related green or red kidney beans. The seed is a small, dry white bean with an oval, slightly flattened shape.
White beans are traditionally eaten alone, without the pods. They are usually available only canned, dried or frozen. They are baked with sauces, or added to soups, stews and baked dishes. The seed may be sprouted and used in salads or cooked.
In the UK, the white bean is most commonly encountered in canned baked beans, where it is paired with a sweet tomato sauce. When used in other recipes, it is often referred to as the haricot bean.
White beans are an excellent source of iron and folate and a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and copper.
Consumption of white beans has been shown to lower total cholesterol levels, which might be at least partly explained by the high saponin content of the bean.
From a medicinal standpoint, the green or dried mature pods, or the seeds alone, are reported to have diuretic, hypoglycaemic and hypotensive actions.
The seeds or the whole plant may be used as a homeopathic remedy for a variety of diseases. When ground into flour, the seeds are used externally in the treatment of ulcers.
White Bean Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No allergens present in white beans have yet been characterised. An alpha-amylase inhibitor has been isolated, as well as a chitinase, however the allergenicity of these proteins has not been determined to date.
White Bean Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected but in fact is not seen frequently. While legumes have structurally similar proteins, they do not all display equal allergenicity.
White Bean Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
White bean may uncommonly induce symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals.
A study reports on a 33-year-old woman who developed tongue swelling and burning and mouth itching minutes after eating baked beans. Similar symptoms occurred a day after ingesting pea soup, on another occasion within 15 minutes of eating a bean burrito, and again 20 minutes after eating chilli containing kidney and pinto beans. In this last instance, she also developed chest tightness, wheezing, generalised erythema, urticaria, abdominal pain, a feeling of impending doom and light-headedness.
Subsequent skin prick testing was positive to red kidney and white bean, but negative to pea, green and lima bean.
A 7-year-old boy was described who developed angioedema associated with inhalation of vapours from cooked white bean. The patient also developed angioedema after ingesting cooked white bean.
The root is dangerously narcotic. Large quantities of the raw mature seed may be poisonous.