- These 7 Foods Might Help Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
- 1. Ginger
- 2. Bee pollen
- 3. Citrus fruits
- 4. Turmeric
- 5. Tomatoes
- 6. Salmon and other oily fish
- 7. Onions
- Last word
- Make These Diet Changes to Improve Allergies & Sinuses
- 1. Cut Dairy
- 2. Incorporate More Fruits and Veggies
- 3. Snack on Nuts
- 4. Stop Skipping Workouts
- 30 Foods to Eat to Get Rid of Allergies—For Good
- 1 Strawberries
- 2 Walnuts
- 3 Shiitake Mushrooms
- 4 Broccoli
- 5 Apples
- 6 Cocoa
- 7 Sweet Potato
- 8 Turmeric
- 9 Chia Seeds
- 10 Kale
- 11 Spinach
- 12 Honey
- 13 Blueberries
- 14 Collard Greens
- 15 Pineapple
- 16 Garlic
- 17 Tempeh
- 18 Avocado
- 19 Brussels Sprouts
- 20 Kiwi
- 21 Red Grapes
- 22 Watermelon
- 23 Mango
- 24 Kombucha
- 25 Papaya
- 26 Cauliflower
- 27 Sauerkraut
- 28 Black Plums
- 29 Flaxseeds
- 30 Tomatoes
- The best (and worst) foods to help fight your allergies
- 1. Pineapple
- 2. Onions
- 3. Turmeric
- 4. Kefir
- 5. Tuna
- 6. Oranges
- 7. Local honey
- Foods That Aggravate Allergies
- Foods That Fight Allergies
- How Changing Your Diet May Improve Seasonal Allergies
- Diet Ideas for Seasonal Allergies
- Foods to Help Relieve Allergies
- Yogurt and food with live cultures
- Local honey
These 7 Foods Might Help Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
When you think of food and allergies, you may think of keeping certain foods out of your diet to avoid an adverse reaction. But the connection between seasonal allergies and food is limited to a few groups of foods known as cross-reactive foods. Reactions to cross-reactive foods may be experienced by those with birch, ragweed, or mugwort seasonal allergies.
Aside from those groups of foods, seasonal allergies, also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, only occur during certain parts of the year — usually the spring or summer. They develop when the immune system overreacts to allergens, like plant pollen, which results in lots of congestion, sneezing, and itching.
While treatment usually involves over-the-counter medicines, lifestyle changes may also help ease your springtime woes. Adding certain foods to your diet could actually help relieve symptoms like the nose-dripping and eye-watering. From reducing inflammation to boosting the immune system, there are a number of dietary choices that may help mitigate the miseries of seasonal allergies.
Here’s a list of foods to try.
Many of the unpleasant allergy symptoms come from inflammatory issues, like swelling and irritation in the nasal passages, eyes, and throat. Ginger can help reduce these symptoms naturally.
For thousands of years, ginger has been used as a natural remedy for a number of health problems, like nausea and joint pain. It’s also been proven to contain antioxidative, anti-inflammatory phytochemical compounds. Now, experts are exploring how these compounds may be useful for combating seasonal allergies. In a 2016 animal study, ginger suppressed the production of pro-inflammatory proteins in the blood of mice, which led to reduced allergy symptoms.
There doesn’t appear to be a difference in the anti-inflammatory capacity of fresh ginger versus dried. Add either variety to stir fries, curries, baked goods, or try making ginger tea.
2. Bee pollen
Bee pollen isn’t just food for bees — it’s edible for humans, too! This mixture of enzymes, nectar, honey, flower pollen, and wax is often sold as a curative for hay fever.
Research shows bee pollen can have anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antimicrobial, properties in the body. In one animal study, bee pollen inhibited the activation of mast cells — a crucial step in preventing allergic reactions.
What kind of bee pollen is best, and how do you eat it? “There is some evidence to support the consumption of local bee pollen to help build your body’s resistance to the pollen that you are allergic to,” says Stephanie Van’t Zelfden, a registered dietitian who helps clients manage allergies. “It is important that the honey be local so that the same local pollen your body is allergic to is contained in the bee pollen.” If possible, look for bee pollen at your local farmer’s market.
Bee pollen comes in small pellets, with a flavor some describe as bittersweet or nutty. Creative ways to eat it include sprinkling some on yogurt or cereal, or blending it into a smoothie.
3. Citrus fruits
While it’s an old wives’ tale that vitamin C prevents the common cold, it may help shorten the duration of a cold as well as offer benefits for allergy sufferers. Eating foods high in vitamin C has been shown to decrease allergic rhinitis, the irritation of the upper respiratory tract caused by pollen from blooming plants.
So during allergy season, feel free to load up on high-vitamin C citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, sweet peppers, and berries.
Turmeric is well-known as an anti-inflammatory powerhouse for a good reason. Its active ingredient, curcumin, has been linked to reduced symptoms of many inflammation-driven diseases, and could help minimize the swelling and irritation caused by allergic rhinitis.
Although turmeric’s effects on seasonal allergies haven’t been studied extensively in humans, animal studies are promising. One showed that treating mice with turmeric reduced their allergic response.
Turmeric can be taken in pills, tinctures, or teas — or, of course, eaten in foods. Whether you take turmeric as a supplement or use it in your cooking, be sure to choose a product with black pepper or piperine, or pair turmeric with black pepper in your recipe. Black pepper increases the bioavailability of curcumin by up to 2,000 percent.
Though citrus tends to get all the glory when it comes to vitamin C, tomatoes are another excellent source of this essential nutrient. One medium-size tomato contains about 26 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C.
Additionally, tomatoes contain lycopene, another antioxidant compound that helps quell systemic inflammation. Lycopene is more easily absorbed in the body when it’s cooked, so choose canned or cooked tomatoes for an extra boost.
6. Salmon and other oily fish
Could a fish a day keep the sneezing away? There’s some evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids from fish could bolster your allergy resistance and even improve asthma.
A German study from 2005 found that the more eicosapentaenoic (EPA) fatty acid people had in their bloodstream, the less their risk of allergic sensitivity or hay fever.
Another more recent study showed that fatty acids helped decrease the narrowing of airways that occurs in asthma and some cases of seasonal allergies. These benefits likely come from omega-3s’ anti-inflammatory properties.
The American Heart Association and Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get 8 ounces of fish per week, especially low mercury “fatty” fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. To increase your chances of allergy relief, strive to hit or exceed this target.
Onions are an excellent natural source of quercetin, a bioflavonoid you may have seen sold on its own as a dietary supplement.
Some research suggests that quercetin acts as a natural antihistamine, reducing the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Since onions also contain a number of other anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, you can’t go wrong including them in your diet during allergy season. (You just might want to freshen your breath afterward.)
Raw red onions have the highest concentration of quercetin, followed by white onions and scallions. Cooking reduces the quercetin content of onions, so for maximum impact, eat onions raw. You might try them in salads, in dips (like guacamole), or as sandwich toppings. Onions are also prebiotic-rich foods which nourish healthy gut bacteria and further support immunity and health.
The blooming and flowering of springtime can be a beautiful thing. These foods aren’t meant to replace any treatment for seasonal allergies, but they can help as part of your overall lifestyle. Making the dietary additions above may allow you to reduce inflammation and allergic response to savor the season, rather than sneeze your way through it.
Sarah Garone, NDTR, is a nutritionist, freelance health writer, and food blogger. She lives with her husband and three children in Mesa, Arizona. Find her sharing down-to-earth health and nutrition info and (mostly) healthy recipes at A Love Letter to Food.
Make These Diet Changes to Improve Allergies & Sinuses
January 7, 2019
We’ve talked before about the surprising foods that can help to ease sinus or allergy symptoms—find that blog here—but today we’ve got tips for how to permanently tweak your diet for optimal airway health. Take notes!
1. Cut Dairy
This may be surprising, but avoiding dairy is actually a quick way to decrease mucus production, avoid seasonal allergies, and even avoid asthma attacks. It may not work for everyone, but it’s worth a shot based on the successes of many patients who have seen great success after cutting dairy from their diets.
2. Incorporate More Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and veggies, especially those high in vitamin C—like apples, oranges, grapes, tomatoes, spinach, and broccoli—fights against nasal congestion. We love this list of foods and how they benefit allergy and asthma sufferers!
3. Snack on Nuts
Unless you have a nut allergy, snacking on nuts instead of easy-to-grab, processed snacks can help to reduce inflammation, which is a great help to reducing sinusitis symptoms. The list in this article is really helpful for identifying which foods in your diet may be causing inflammation.
4. Stop Skipping Workouts
We know workouts aren’t necessarily part of your diet, but maintaining a healthy body certainly contributes not only to the way your body digests and metabolizes food, but it allows you to keep off weight and condition your lungs for better ease of breathing.
Here, we explain exactly how regular cardio workouts contribute to lung health!
Thinking that you need help pinpointing the specific causes of your allergies and sinusitis?
We’re experts at that. And our comprehensive treatment plans also incorporate diet changes to make sure that you breathe easier for life! Give us a call so that we can create your personal treatment plan today.
Tags: Allergies, Asthma
While seasonal allergies and sinusitis are both commonly treated with decongestants and antihistamines, these drugs bring only temporary relief and may result in side effects such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and drowsiness. If you’re looking for ways to deal with your symptoms, consider the following for natural ways to help you cope with and eliminate the manifestations associated with seasonal allergies and sinusitis.
Your diet may have a more immediate impact on your health than you think. In fact, multiple studies have suggested that following a diet high in nutrients, such as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, can naturally help you get through the allergy season and your sinus problems. On the other hand, stay clear of food items that thicken the mucus and stimulate the body to produce more histamines, which can trigger sneezing, stuffiness, and irritation to the eyes and nose. Below are general recommendations nutritionists and clinicians typically make to individuals suffering from symptoms of nasal allergies and sinusitis, but keep in mind that consulting a professional in the field is the best way to obtain a personalized plan specific to your needs and aliments.
Modifications to Your Daily Diet
- Drink more fluids: Constant sneezing and the need to blow your nose can result in dehydration, leading to headaches and further aggravation of your symptoms. As a result, getting more water into your system is an important way to help combat the symptoms associated with both allergies and sinusitis.
- Spice up your meals:
- Ginger: Incorporating ginger as a spice in your meals can be a safe way to gain from the possible anti-inflammatory properties of ginger. In fact, research from a 2008 study published in International Immunopharmacology suggests that ginger can modulate the immune response to inflammation associated with allergic asthma . Nevertheless, keep in mind that while using ginger as a spice is typically harmless, its use as a supplement must be taken with caution because many side effects could result, especially through its interactions with other drugs, such as various blood thinners like coumadin and aspirin.
- Onion: Everyone who’s chopped onions has probably experienced the fact that onions can make you cry. As a result, cooking with fresh onions can naturally help with opening and draining your sinuses. Additionally, onions contain quercetin, a chemical compound that has antihistamine properties and aid in the reduction of inflammation and nasal congestion.
- Garlic: Garlic’s naturally occurring chemical compounds (allicin, S-Ally cysteine, and ajoene) are responsible for its believed properties of improving mucus flow and the reduction of congestion through its mucus thinning and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cayenne pepper: Because capsaicin, the active compound in cayenne peppers, may thin the mucus and stimulate the sinuses aiding in air circulation, consumption of foods containing cayenne peppers can help decrease congestion.
- Increase your intake of:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Because omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats with anti-inflammatory properties, increasing the consumption of these healthy fats can reduce immune dysfunction and help alleviate allergy-related conditions.
- Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Fatty fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, halibut, and mackerel
- Nuts and seeds such as flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin
- Beans such as kidney, pinto, and mung beans
- Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Vitamin C: Increasing your intake of vitamin C can help alleviate your symptoms because this antioxidant counteracts histamine, the substance that can contribute to inflammation, runny nose, sneezing, and other related symptoms.
- Sources of vitamin C include:
- Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries
- Red and green vegetables such as tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, and broccoli
- Sources of vitamin C include:
- Dietary Polyphenols: A 2010 study published in American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy has demonstrated that dietary polyphenols, such as -gingerol, quercetin, and EGCG, can effectively inhibit the secretion of mucus from respiratory epithelial cells while maintaining normal nasal ciliary motion.
- Sources of dietary polyphenols include:
- -Gingerol: the main active component of ginger
- Quercetin: found in red wine, tea, onions, leafy green vegetables and many other fruits and vegetables
- EGCG: green tea extract
- Curcumin: curry extract; the active ingredient of turmeric
- Sources of dietary polyphenols include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Because omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats with anti-inflammatory properties, increasing the consumption of these healthy fats can reduce immune dysfunction and help alleviate allergy-related conditions.
Naturally Clear Your Sinuses
- Steam: Inhaling steam from a humidifier, hot bath, or cup of hot water can help decrease congestion.
- Nasal irrigation: Washing the nasal passages with a hypertonic saline solution (which can be made by mixing one teaspoon of salt with two cups of warm water) is a common method to aid in the removal of mucus from the nasal passages.There are two different types of methods that are typically used to administer nasal washes.
- One method involves pouring the solution into the palm of the hands and inhaling it through one nostril at a time.
- The other method employs the use of a Neti pot, which is a device used for nasal irrigation that looks like a mix between a tea pot and Genie’s lamp. To rinse the sinuses using a Neti pot, tilt your head sideways, insert the spout of the pot into the upper nostril, and allow the saline solution to flow through the sinus and out the lower nostril.
With both methods, to prevent infections and other complications, be sure to fully understand the processes for nasal irrigations before attempting them and use only sterile saline solutions to wash the sinuses .
- Acupressure/Self-Massage: According to the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, a part of the UCLA Health System, acupressure is “an effective form of stimulation used to help relax the muscles. If done regularly, this method of self-massage can sustain improvement and minimize recurrence of symptoms” from conditions such as allergies and sinusitis. Some specific acupressure points recommended for individuals who suffer from seasonal allergies and sinusitis include:
- Large Intestine 4: The point is between the thumb and index finger. Caution: Pregnant women should not massage this point because it can induce labor.
- Gallbladder 20: The point is located at the back of the skull at the junction between the mastoid (ear) bone and the neck.
Applying deep, firm pressure to massage and stimulate each point can help open up the sinuses and reduce your symptoms.
Manage Your Stress
Incorporating stress reduction activities, such as socializing with friends, listening to music, and making some quiet time for yourself, can help decrease your stress levels and also aid with the management of your allergies or sinusitis. According to Dr. Malcolm Taw, assistant clinical professor of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, stress is deleterious to the immune system and compromises the individual’s ability to cope with ailments such as allergies and sinusitis. With high levels of stress, sleep quality and quantity typically decrease, resulting in dysregulation of multiple physiological cascades and thus, augmenting the symptoms of both allergies and sinusitis.
- Ahui, ML, et al. Ginger prevents Th2-mediated immune responses in a mouse model of airway inflammation. International Immunopharmacology. 2008; 8(12): 1626-32.
- Chang, JH, et al. Dietary polyphenols affect MUC5AC expression and ciliary movement in respiratory cells and nasal mucosa. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy. 2010; 24, 59-62.
- University of Maryland Medical Center. Sinusitis – Treatment. Accessed at http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/how_acute_sinusitis_treated_000062_8.htm on July 16, 2012.
By Shannon Wongvibulsin, BS Candidate, UCLA 2014
UCLA Center East-West Medicine, Staff Writer
Seasonal sniffles, sneezes, and itches got you down? There are things you can eat that may ease your allergy symptoms.
No food is a proven cure. But fruits and vegetables are good for your whole body. They’re full of nutrients that can keep you healthy. They may also protect you from seasonal allergies.
Try these items:
1. Onions, peppers, berries, and parsley all have quercetin. Elson Haas, MD, who practices integrative medicine, says quercetin is a natural plant chemical. According to Haas, this chemical may reduce “histamine reactions.” Histamines are part of the allergic response.
2. Kiwi is a fuzzy fruit rich in vitamin C. It can also cut down on histamines. You can get Vitamin C from lots of foods, including oranges and other citrus fruit.
3. Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain. According to Lawrence Rosen, MD, bromelain can reduce irritation in allergic diseases such as asthma.
4. Tuna, salmon, and mackerel have Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 can help reduce inflammation. Go for two servings of fish every week. A study from Japan found that women who ate more fish had lower levels of hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis.
5. Kefir is a yogurtdrink that contains probiotics. These are good-for-you bacteria that live in your gut. Rosen says they may help prevent and even treat seasonal allergies. You can get probiotics in fermented foods. Look for yogurts that say “live active cultures” on the label. Sauerkraut and kimchi are also good sources.
6. Local Honey. The research is mixed on whether local honey helps you head off allergies. “If you take small doses of the honey early in the season,” Rosen says, “you may develop a tolerance toward pollen in your area.” One study found that people who ate birch pollen honey had fewer symptoms of birch pollen allergy than those who ate regular honey. It’s not a sure thing, but see if it works for you.
30 Foods to Eat to Get Rid of Allergies—For Good
If you spend more of your time hitting up your allergist and popping meds to control your itchy eyes, sneezing, and congestion more than you’d like to admit, it might be time to look to another method to help you (finally) get rid of your allergies. And get excited: it involves eating.
Sure, medicine does a great job at keeping your symptoms at bay, but a variety of different foods—from apples and tomatoes to sauerkraut—can help, too. Here are some items to always have stocked in your fridge to help you beat your allergies for good. And for more ways to avoid allergies this season, steer clear of the 20 Worst U.S. Cities for Spring Allergies.
One simple way to fight off allergies? Stock up on all things vitamin C, says the Mayo Clinic. Strawberries — which contain about 85 mg per cup — won’t just give you a healthy boost of antioxidants, but they’ll also help reduce your symptoms in the process. Bonus: Strawberries are also one of the 50 Foods That Make You Look Younger.
You might want to make walnuts your snack of choice — at least when it comes to ridding yourself of allergies. According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the high amount of omega-3s it contains can help reduce the symptoms. And for more amazing foods we recommend, check out the 30 Best Foods for Maximizing Your Energy Levels.
3 Shiitake Mushrooms
Mushrooms are always a healthy choice, and when it comes to relieving allergy woes, make sure you have shiitake on hand. They’re not only flavorful, but they’re also packed with vitamin D which, according to the Mayo Clinic, can help with symptoms. To reap the most benefits, go for the dried version which contain much more vitamin D than fresh. Bonus: ‘shrooms are also one of the 20 Best Ways to Have a Healthier Thyroid!
Broccoli is one of the healthiest veggies around, and according to a study published in the journal Food and Function, the green machine could also protect your body against pollutants that cause allergies. So stock up: Sneaking it into your meals could make a big difference when it comes to your symptoms. And for more ways to look and feel your very best, see these 50 Genius Weight-Loss Motivation Tricks.
An apple a day keeps your allergies away? Well, at least according to a 2016 study published in the journal Molecules, that is true. Quercetin — the plant polyphenol the fruit contains — has been found to help reduce the inflammation that often comes hand-in-hand with allergies, preventing it from affecting you. And for more reasons to eat apples, know that a perfect apple is one of the 40 Simple Pleasures Only People Over 40 Understand.
Listen up, chocolate lovers: eating cocoa on the reg actually has some anti-allergy benefits, says a study published in the journal Pharmacological Research. Add some into your morning smoothie to feel like you’re eating breakfast for dessert, or sip it in your warm and cozy beverages.
7 Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes aren’t just a ridiculously healthy starch — they can also help ward off your allergies thanks to their high content of beta-carotene, says the Mayo Clinic. Make some healthified fries in your air fryer, spotlight them in your weekly potato bar, or top them with some cinnamon for a nutritious dessert to reap the benefits. Bonus: Sweet potatoes are also one of the 20 Best Foods for Your Libido.
Turmeric deserves a prime spot on your spice rack — especially if you have allergies. According one study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, sprinkling it on your food is an easy way to get some control over your symptoms, once and for all. And for more great advice for living smarter, know the 30 Ways You’re Making Your Life Way Harder Than It Needs to Be.
9 Chia Seeds
There are plenty of healthy reasons to toss some chia seeds into your meals, and according to one 2017 study, one of them is because of their super-powerful, allergy-combating omega-3 content. Add some into your smoothies, use them to make a creamy pudding, or throw some onto your salad.
Kale salad, anyone? Aside from being a low-calorie, high-fiber superfood that belongs in every diet, one cup of chopped kale also contains 80 mg of allergy-fighting vitamin C. Yeah, it’s a keeper.
You can’t have kale on a list without also including spinach, right? While kale is the winner when it comes to allergy-fighting vitamin C, spinach reigns supreme with vitamin E which can also help reduce symptoms, says the Mayo Clinic.
Want to sweeten things up? Grab some honey. One 2013 study found adding it into your diet can help counteract your allergy symptoms — and even prevent them from affecting you in the future.
As if you needed a reason to load up on blueberries, here you go: One study found they’re packed with the polyphenol quercetin that saves you from getting all itchy-eyed and stuffy-nosed come allergy season.
14 Collard Greens
Collard greens aren’t just tasty — they’re also rich in catotenoids, which a 2010 study found could not only help prevent the development of food allergies, but also help combat seasonal allergy symptoms. Score.
If you’ve noticed pineapple tends to help fend off your allergies, there’s a reason for that: the 79 mg of vitamin C it contains per cup can help you control your symptoms and leave the sniffles behind.
Not a fan of turmeric? Try garlic instead. A 2015 review found it doesn’t just help decrease allergic reactions; it also helps prevent allergies in the first place. Plus, the best part: It tastes good on everything.
Tempeh — a hearty plant-based protein source made from soybeans — is full of probiotics, and that’s great news for your allergies. A 2013 study found that good gut bacteria can fight off your seasonal allergy symptoms.
Welp, here’s your excuse to eat guac and avocado toast like it’s your job: They’re rich in both vitamin C and E, which gives you a double-whammy in getting rid of your allergy symptoms. Yep, it’s pretty much a sneeze-free dream come true.
19 Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are certainly an acquired taste, but once you figure out how to make them to your liking, you can say goodbye to your allergy symptoms. A 2017 study found the veggie’s omega-3 content might be just the fix you’ve been looking for.
If you’re not already a fan of kiwi, your allergies will thank you for adding it into your daily diet. By cutting some up and eating it as a snack, you’ll reap some allergy-fighting benefits thanks to its high vitamin C content of 64 mg per fruit.
21 Red Grapes
Red grapes are easy to love: they’re delicious, make for a quick portable snack, and always hit the spot. One thing you probably didn’t know they’re good for, though? Fighting off allergies. One study found their polyphenols help prevent you from coming down with any symptoms.
If you haven’t heard of lycopene, it’s about to become your new best friend. Foods with high levels of the chemical compound — which gives red foods its bright hue — has been found to help get rid of allergies and their symptoms.
If downing pineapple already didn’t give you enough feel-good tropical vibes, reach for some mango, too: Also high in vitamin C at 60 mg per cup, it’ll help you boot your allergies to the side so you’ll be feeling like yourself again in no time.
Tempeh isn’t the only probiotic-packed food you should have on your grocery list. Kombucha is also a great way to fight off seasonal allergy symptoms — and have better gut health in the process. Just be sure to grab a high-quality product that isn’t more of a sugary treat than a health drink.
After trying papaya, you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. The fruit definitely has a unique taste, and it also has a noteworthy benefit: with 140 mg of vitamin C per cup, it can help you get rid of some of the annoyances of allergies, like itchy eyes and congestion.
There’s so much you can do with cauliflower. You can make a low-carb rice out of it, mash it, or even turn it into crispy buffalo wings. And the more you use it, the more its anti-allergic quercetin will help ensure your symptoms won’t take over this spring.
Sure, people toss some sauerkraut onto their hot dogs — but there are plenty of other (healthier!) ways you can use the fermented food in your diet. And, because of its gut-boosting probiotics, one study says it can rid allergies from your life for good in the process.
28 Black Plums
Just like apples and red grapes, one study found black plums are also a great source of the anti-allergy plant polyphenol quercetin. Stock up the next time you’re at the grocery store and eat them often.
Flaxseeds have been around forever — around 6,000 years, FYI! — and adding the superfood into your diet could be a smart anti-allergy solution. Whether you eat them in cracker-, oatmeal-, or even waffle-form, one study found the high omega-3 content can help combat your symptoms.
Like watermelon, tomatoes are also a prime allergy-fighting source of lycopene. Load up on the fruit — whether that’s in sauce-form or topped on your salads — to make sure you stay healthy and free of symptoms this year.
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The best (and worst) foods to help fight your allergies
With pollen counts pumping up sooner than expected this year, many allergy sufferers will reach for eye drops, allergy shots and other medications for relief. But what about a plate of poached salmon, a kale salad or a crisp red pepper?
Allergy-fighting antihistamines come in pill and liquid forms, but they appear naturally vitamin C-packed vegetables. Those, as well as fish rich in Omega-3s, make up an anti-inflammatory diet that can help beat back allergy symptoms, said Emily Telfair, a naturopathic doctor in Baltimore.
Think of antihistamine medications “like the bandaid,” she said, necessary for many just to get through the day. A few simple changes, though, may prevent your body from needing them in the first place.
“And food’s a good way to start,” she said.
Here are food choices that can help alleviate allergies, and some you might want to avoid.
Onions, cabbage and apples
These all contain quercetin, a compound that gives some fruits and vegetables a reddish hue. Quercetin also stabilizes mast cells, Telfair said, those cells that pump out histamines as your body reacts to an allergen. Consuming it regularly, in food or supplement form, lends the body inflammation-calming nutrients. And don’t get too hung up on the color, she said, as these foods need not be red to contain quercetin.
(Red wine contains quercetin too, but Telfair doesn’t recommend it. More on that below.)
Bell peppers, Brussels sprouts and broccoli
Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine, making these vegetables your friend. And all three contain more vitamin C than oranges. That’s good news, Telfair said, as citrus fruits can upset histamine pathways. Other good options include cauliflower, cabbage and kale. And don’t double up on orange juice, she said; it just makes your mucus worse.
Salmon, sardines and mackerel
These fatty fish can beat back allergen-induced inflammation through omega-3 fatty acids. The fats incorporate into cell membranes in the body’s tissues, stabilizing them, Telfair said. When an allergen arises, those cells are then more likely to help reduce inflammation, she explained.
Nettles, another natural antihistamine, grow like weeds in the springtime, Telfair said, just as allergies return. The prickly plants can go into soups, pesto, and pasta dishes and also stabilize mast cells. Many health food stores carry them, said Telfair, who favors a nice cup of nettles tea: “It tastes like dirt, but it’s very effective.”
Avoid: Dairy, bread and booze
All of these increase inflammation, Telfair said, not helping allergies a bit. Limit yourself to whole grains and avoid dairy, which triggers mucus already rampant with allergies. And quercetin be damned, cut back on that wine red wine, Telair said, which can aggravate histamine pathways. Alcohol in general can add undue stress to your body if it’s already dealing with allergens floating in the air.
“You can’t control that, but you can control how many beers you drink.”
Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner
► Related: Early spring warmth wreaks havoc on plants, allergies, bugs
It’s hard to be enthusiastic about spring when you suffer from the itchy eyes, sneezing, congestion, and runny nose associated with allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. And the “cure”—over-the-counter antihistamines that leave you foggy and dried out—isn’t much better. But these potent immune-boosting foods can help.
Is the best source of bromelain, an enzyme that has anti-inflammatory effects and can reduce nasal swelling, making it easier to breathe. Studies also show that it inhibits the development of allergic airway diseases and asthma.
Try this: Grill thick slices of pineapple until lightly browned, and serve with coconut ice cream; combine chopped pineapple, diced red peppers, minced jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice for a tropical salsa; toss pineapple cubes with shredded cabbage, chopped mint, sliced red onions, and a light mayo-based dressing for a fruity slaw.
Are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid with potent antioxidant activity that acts as a natural antihistamine. Quercetin works by blocking the production and release of histamines, compounds involved in the body’s allergic response, as well as inhibiting other allergic and inflammatory compounds. Other good sources of quercetin include apples (particularly the skin), red wine, capers, berries (particularly elderberry), dill, cilantro, black and green tea, citrus fruit, and banana peppers.
Try this: Halve yellow onions, toss with olive oil, roast until golden, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar; sauté onions in butter, add beef or vegetable broth, sherry, and thyme, cook until onions are soft, and top with cheese, if desired, for a rich onion soup.
Turmeric contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory compound that inhibits the release of histamine, inhibits allergic response, and decreases oxidative stress. Curcumin has also been shown to increase nasal airflow and support immune response in people with allergies. Combining turmeric with fat and black pepper increases its absorption and availability.
Try this: Cook vegetables in coconut milk, turmeric root, curry paste, and black pepper until tender; stir turmeric, ground black pepper, coconut oil, and a pinch of saffron into cooked rice; add a generous amount of turmeric powder and black pepper to eggs scrambled with onions and smoked salmon.
Did You Know?
Curcumin has been shown to increase nasal airflow and support the immune response in people with allergies.
Kefir, a fermented milk product, contains probiotics, which have been shown to treat seasonal allergies and enhance immune response. In one study, people who took probiotics had less congestion during allergy season, and showed reduced inflammation in the nasal passages. Other good sources of probiotics include yogurt, tempeh, natto, miso, dairy-free coconut kefir, and naturally processed sauerkraut.
Try this: Combine kefir, garlic, dill, chives, and a splash of vinegar for a healthy ranch dressing; purée cooked sweet potatoes and onions with curry paste and kefir for an easy soup; stir raspberry preserves into vanilla kefir and freeze for ice cream.
Is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory actions and can block the production of chemicals that cause allergic reactions. In one study, people with higher levels of EPA, an omega-3 fat found in fish, had lower risk of allergies. Additionally, a higher intake of ALA, a type of omega-3 found in walnuts, flax, and chia, was associated with a decreased risk of allergic rhinitis.
Try this: Mix canned tuna, walnuts, olives, minced onions, and spinach with kefir ranch dressing (recipe above); toss pasta with tuna, garlic, arugula, and olive oil; top toast with avocado, onion, and thinly sliced seared tuna.
Are rich in vitamin C, which works as a natural antihistamine. Studies show vitamin C depletion is associated with increased histamine levels, and that supplementing with vitamin C lowered histamine levels. Oranges are also rich in quercetin, and studies show that combining quercetin and vitamin C enhances availability and reduces inflammation. Other good sources of vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, papaya, and mangos.
Try this: Chop seeded oranges and peels in a food processor, then simmer with agave or honey until thick for an easy marmalade; arrange orange halves in a baking dish, drizzle with honey and cinnamon, and bake until soft; juice oranges and kale for a power-packed breakfast drink.
7. Local honey
May reduce allergies if taken at the very start of the allergy season. The idea is that eating honey inoculates the body against local pollen that causes seasonal allergies. One study found that people with birch pollen allergies had 60 percent fewer symptoms and 70 percent fewer days with symptoms after eating honey with birch pollen. It may also be that honey soothes allergies via its anti-inflammatory effects. Use locally produced honey, ideally raw and unfiltered, for the best healing power.
Try this: Purée kefir, coconut oil, honey, and turmeric for a probiotic-enhanced golden milk; stir honey into creamy peanut butter, add oats, and form into balls for a simple snack; whisk honey, mustard, and olive oil together for a sweet-and-savory salad dressing.
View our Piña Colada Yogurt & Honey Parfait recipe.
Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, writes a weekly column for the Vancouver Sun, and recently, a reader with severe allergies asked Dr. Weil for advice on how to treat allergies. Instead of medication or immunotherapy, Dr. Weil first suggests two important dietary changes, as well as environmental control.
Foods That Aggravate Allergies
“The first is the elimination of dairy products,” says Dr. Weil. “Milk protein, or casein, increases mucus production in most people and acts as an immune system irritant when allergies are present. Even if skin tests don’t show a true allergy to milk, removing it from the diet often leads to improvement in such allergic conditions as asthma and eczema.
“Don’t just switch to nonfat milk products, which have the same amount of milk protein as full-fat varieties. Non-dairy cheese substitutes made from soybeans and almonds may still contain casein. Read product labels carefully to be sure that they do not contain casein. However, you can substitute sheep’s and goat’s milk for cow’s milk. Both have a different protein composition and don’t cause the sinus, allergy and immune-system problems associated with cow’s milk.”
Dr. Weil’s second dietary recommendation for allergy relief is to cut down on the amount of protein consumed, another type of foods that aggravate allergies: “I believe that high-protein diets irritate the immune system in some people, aggravating allergies and autoimmune diseases. Because proteins are the components that make an organism unique, the immune system reads them to decide whether materials in the body are ‘self’ or foreign. When the immune system is overactive, as it is with an allergy, flooding the body with animal and plant proteins may confuse it further and may make resolution of these conditions less likely. I have found that low-protein diets can be helpful to people with chronic allergies and other immune-system problems.”
As for environmental control, Dr. Weil says, “If you’re sensitive to dust, animal dander, pollen or mold, try to dust-proof your house by removing rugs, venetian blinds and other dust-catchers. You also could consider buying a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which removes particles in the air by forcing it through screens containing microscopic pores. These devices work well and aren’t too expensive. Get one for each of the main rooms in your house, or move one unit from room to room regularly. Avoid air-filtering equipment that generates ozone (HEPA filters don’t).”
Foods That Fight Allergies
While some foods may aggravate allergies, there are many allergy fighting foods. According to Prevention, a nutritious diet can help control underlying inflammation, dilate air passages, and thin mucus in the lungs. Here are some of the top foods that fight allergies.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 essential fatty acids contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is a natural anti-inflammatory. Good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed oil, salmon, haddock, cod, and other cold-water fish. Another essential acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), also acts as an anti-inflammatory, and it can be found in evening primrose oil, borage oil, and black currant seed oil. If possible, include more of both of these fatty acids in your diet.
On the flip side, too much Omega-6 fatty acid may intensify inflammation. Most people in our society need more Omega-3 fatty acids and less Omega-6 fatty acids. Foods high in Omega-6 fatty acids include cottonseed, corn, and sunflower oils, as well as processed foods like mayonnaise, salad dressing, and fast food. Saturated fats and trans fats also trigger the release of inflammatory chemicals. Avoiding foods that contains partially hydrogenated oil is not only good for your waistline but also helpful in combating allergies. Try to use monosaturated olive oil as your primary source of fat.
Fruit juices are rich sources of antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, but read the label to make sure that it’s real juice and not a bottle of corn syrup. An even better suggestion is to eat whole fruit. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is an easy way to get more antioxidants in your diet without taking a supplement. Berries have especially high levels of antioxidants.
A high-fiber diet makes for a healthy colon. A low-fiber diet produces a lazy colon that’s more susceptible to disease. High-fiber foods like whole grains, nuts, and seeds stimulate movement in the colon and encourage the growth of “good” bacteria. In an unhealthy colon, “bad” bacteria and fungal organisms like candida may take over, which for some, could lead to leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome can be a precursor to food allergies and chemical sensitivities.
Yogurt & Kefir
Another way to increase the number of good bacteria in your gut is to eat them directly. Yogurt and kefir contain live bacterial cultures. In one University of California study, allergic symptoms declined by 90 percent when patients were fed 18 to 24 ounces of yogurt a day. If you’re trying to avoid dairy products, opt for a probiotic supplement.
Certain spices are also foods that fight allergies. Spices like turmeric and ginger are known anti-inflammatory agents that can help tamp down the overactive immune response, indicative of allergic disease.
Magnesium and Zinc
Some studies have shown that people who have asthma are often deficient in magnesium and zinc. Foods rich in magnesium include spinash, navy and pinto beans, sunflower seeds, tofu, halibut, artichokes, and black-eyed peas. Additionally, foods rich in zinc include yogurt, tofu, lean beef and ham, oysters, crab, and the dark meat of turkey and chicken.
The Mediterranean Diet
A recent study showed that children who ate high levels of Mediterranean diet foods were 66 percent less likely to have runny noses and itchy eyes. A Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and fish, but low in red meat. Children on the Mediterranean island of Crete rarely have allergies or asthma.
Grapes in particular seem to protect against allergies and asthma. Red grape skin has high levels of resveratol, an anti-inflammation, as well as antioxidants. In plants like grapes, resveratrol helps to restore and heal plants that have been attacked by pathogens like bacteria or fungi. Conversely, high consumption of margarine, doubled the chances of asthma and allergies in study participants.
Another recent study showed that mothers who eat apples during pregnancy have a significantly reduced risk of their children developing asthma, and mothers who eat fish during pregnancy have children with lower incidents of eczema. Do you see a common theme? Many of these foods will appear multiple time. While each is unique most are beneficial in at least couple ways to anyone coping with allergies, asthma, or other allergic diseases. Lastly, you may also notice that many of the foods that fight allergies are typically better for your overall health. High in nutrients and minerals, often free of excess fats or sugars, these foods can be a part of a healthy diet for anyone.
If foods that fight allergies or the unique relationship between our digestive system and immune disease interest you, check out one of the resources for more information on foods that help with allergies.
✔ Probiotics and Allergies
✔ Treating Food Allergies with Supplements
✔ Nutrition for Allergy Sufferers
✔ The Atopic March & Probiotics
✔ Treat Eczema with Omega 3s
As 40 million sneezing and wheezing allergy sufferers can attest to, this spring has turned out to be quite possibly the worst pollen season ever. And while hitting the drugstore aisles in pursuit of fast relief may be one method for dealing with the allergy-induced onslaught of congestion, inflammation and watery eyes, a good diet is also a good defense.
“We’re not going to tell people to not take their medication and see their doctor, but there is some evidence that certain ways of eating, like the Mediterranean diet, can be beneficial for allergies,” says Clifford W. Bassett, M.D., medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York. That’s because diets rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients may bolster our immune system and decrease inflammation in the body – all of which can lessen those annoying allergy symptoms.
So grab a grocery cart and make sure your fridge is stocked with these foods. They may just stave off those sniffling, sneezing symptoms.
When it comes to fighting springtime allergies, the Mediterranean diet may be a good bet, according to one study. Published in the journal Thorax, researchers found that children from Crete who consumed a diet full of grapes, oranges, apples and fresh tomatoes – staples on the island – had decreased rates of wheezing and rhinitis. In fact, their diet, consisting mainly of fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts, may explain the relative lack of allergic symptoms in this population, say researchers.
Apples, especially their peels, are rich in quercetin, a flavanoid that has natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. In a test tube study, researchers found that quercetin prevents immune cells from releasing histamines, chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Therefore, quercetin may help reduce symptoms of allergies, including runny nose, watery eyes, hives and swelling of the face and lips. Other foods containing this allergy-fighting gem include citrus fruits, onions, red wine and dark berries.
Rich in magnesium, bran can act as a bronchodilator and aid in lung function with antihistamine-like effects. “It is thought that perhaps foods rich in magnesium may provide some dietary assistance in asthma, and it has been studied in various emergency departments,” explains Dr. Bassett. That’s worth noting since up to 85 percent of asthma is triggered by springtime allergies, according to Bassett. Soybeans, dark chocolate and cashews are also good sources of magnesium.
Any time you introduce hot, clear liquids into the body, they can help thin nasal passages. This happens mainly through the introduction of steam – the same effect as filling a sink with hot, steamy water and putting a towel over your head to breathe it in. Bonus: Ginger tea and green tea are also anti-inflammatories that can help reduce overall allergy woes.
Fatty fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids are thought to help improve allergies and asthma symptoms, according to several studies in Europe and as part of a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, notes Bassett. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties and can help strengthen your immune system. “If your immune system is in its peak mode, spring allergies won’t bother you,” he explains. “But a lower immune system means more response to allergens. There’s a definite connection between the two.”
Bring on the heat! Hot peppers, Cajun spices and even horseradish can stimulate the nasal passages to break up and relieve congestion associated with springtime allergies.
Research shows a promising connection between vitamin D and its ability to control asthma and wheezing. “We believe those with low vitamin D levels may correlate somewhat with lower lung function,” says Bassett. Milk is often fortified with vitamin D, but if dairy doesn’t agree with your gut, you can try vitamin D-fortified orange juice or fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna or mackerel), which are naturally rich in vitamin D. Or simply soak up a few minutes of sunshine.
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How Changing Your Diet May Improve Seasonal Allergies
We’re in the thick of pollen season, where everything from vehicles to patio furniture is painted a bright yellow, signaling the sign of spring and misery for seasonal allergy sufferers across the country. Itchy eyes, excessive sneezing, mucus buildup, and congestion are just a few allergy symptoms that have so many of us pleading for any ounce of relief. Luckily, there are simple and natural ways, like changing your eating habits, that help treat and ease the pain of seasonal allergies.
It’s true— certain foods can in fact make your seasonal allergies worse. Alcohol, peanuts, sugar, processed foods, wheat, chocolate, and even your morning cup of coffee are known culprits that act as hay fever catalysts. People also find relief in limiting foods that cause mucus production, such as conventional dairy products and gluten. Additionally, if you are aware of a ragweed allergy avoid melons, bananas, cucumbers, and sunflower seeds, as they can cause allergic reactions in your body and worsen seasonal allergies.
Now, we aren’t saying eliminate all of these foods completely, because everyone needs a sugar fix after a hard day. Just be mindful of your intake and how it may affect your seasonal allergies.
Diet Ideas for Seasonal Allergies
While the list of foods above may have you considering clearing out half your pantry, there are plenty of foods to say YES to this season!
If you’re suffering from congestion, incorporating spicy dishes like flavorful curry, can help thin out mucus. Cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon are your culinary friends! Ginger helps break down toxins in your system and is a great sinus decongestant.
Fresh, Organic Vegetables
Getting your recommended intake of colorful vegetables and clean proteins is always recommended, but especially important during allergy season. Choose nutrient rich veggies like carrots, yams, cabbage, beets, or swiss chard, which is high in Quercetin— a natural compound that fights hay fever and inflammation.
Local Raw Honey
A spoon full of local honey can help relieve watery eyes, congestion and most allergy symptoms because it contains the very pollen your seasonal allergies stem from.
Sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha are probiotic-rich foods that increase energy levels, improve digestion and harbor immune boosting powers.
Both bone broth and apple cider vinegar help break up mucus, ease respiratory issues, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity!
While pineapple is delicious all year long, it just seems to taste better when weather heats up. Pineapple is bursting with necessary vitamins and enzymes that help reduce reactions to seasonal allergies. Don’t neglect the pineapples core, as it has the highest concentration of nutrients!
Seasonal Allergy Treatment at AFC Urgent Care
Treating seasonal allergies demands a multifaceted approach. In addition to certain lifestyle changes such as limiting your time outdoors, a strategy that also gives attention to your diet has been shown to treat and even prevent seasonal allergies. Visit American Family Care, the nation’s leading provider of urgent care to help you find answers and relief if your allergy symptoms persist!
Foods to Help Relieve Allergies
Achoo! Gesundheit! When you suffer from allergies, your body launches an immune response against an irritant-pollen, grass, mold-triggering itchy, watery eyes, congestion, a runny nose and general misery.
Here are three foods to help keep the wheezing and sneezing under control plus your allergy questions answered.
These little green trees are rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that’s been found to fight airway inflammation, helping allergy and asthma suffers stay wheeze-free, research shows. One University of California, Los Angeles, study suggests you only need to chow down on 100 to 200 grams-about one cup-of the super-veggie per day.
Recipe to try: Chile-Roasted Broccoli
Serve up this sneeze-fighting fish tonight. The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA in salmon act as antioxidants and prevent your body from releasing histamines, chemicals that cells pump out during an immune response causing allergic reactions, notes a study in the British Journal of Nutrition. Other omega-3-rich fish to try: mackerel, sardines and tuna.
Recipe to try: Roast Salmon with Chimichurri Sauce
The flavonoid quercetin, found in citrus like oranges and lemons, may help thwart symptoms like sneezing,runny nose and congestion, reports a Japanese study. Quercetin seems to help blunt the expression of the genes that control the histamine response. Apples and red wine are two other quercetin-rich foods.
Recipe to try: Soothing Ginger-Lemon Tea
Answers to Your Top Allergy Questions
Should I skip sugar, gluten or dairy if I have seasonal allergies?
Giving up sugar, gluten or dairy for seasonal allergies is unnecessary, says Bassett. The theory is that sugar, gluten and dairy can cause inflammation, which is an immune response. Since allergies are an immune system overreaction, these foods have your immune system on high alert already so your body could be more prone to overreacting to allergens like pollen. So, theoretically, cutting out inflammatory foods will lessen symptoms. The problem? “There’s no scientific evidence to support this theory,” says Bassett.
Will disinfecting everything protect me from allergies?
Actually, a house that’s too clean could put your kids at an increased risk for allergies. For instance, kids of families who washed dishes by hand were 43 percent less likely to suffer from eczema, asthma and allergies than those whose parents used a dishwasher, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics. Hand washing removes fewer germs than the dishwasher, and increased exposure to microbes may have a protective effect, helping to shore up children’s developing immune systems, researchers say.
Do certain foods exacerbate my allergies?
There is a link between seasonal and food allergies. It’s called oral allergy syndrome (OAS). When you eat certain foods, your body thinks you’re also consuming pollen. “Over half of people who have seasonal pollen allergies may experience ‘oral allergy’ symptoms that include tingling, itchiness and/or mild swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue and throat after eating certain foods,” says Clifford Bassett, M.D., founder and medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York. Here’s a look at the foods that may cause OAS. (If you really love these foods, cooking can destroy the problematic proteins, alleviating this effect. Peeling sometimes helps too.)
Allergy: Grass pollen
Watch out for: Celery, melons, oranges, peaches, tomatoes
Watch out for: Bananas, chamomile tea, cucumbers, dandelion greens, echinacea, melons, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, zucchini
- Immune-Boosting Superfoods
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One way to naturally support your immune system during allergy season is to incorporate healthy foods into your diet.
Yogurt and food with live cultures
Even though studies have not specifically targeted which probiotics and other “good bacteria” combat allergies, studies have shown probiotics may be a promising boost for allergy prevention and treatment. Studies have also shown probiotics and “good bacteria” help regulate and strengthen your immune system as “good bacteria” and flora in our bodies can affect our immune responses positively.
Turmeric is commonly thought to help with allergies because it contains curcumin. Research has shown curcumin can stop the production of some inflammatory molecules in mice. One study even suggests that humans might reduce allergic rhinitis symptoms with daily turmeric consumption.
An apple a day may actually help keep allergies away because apples are high in quercetin. Quercetin is found in other foods such as berries, capers, grapes, cabbage, cauliflower, onions (especially red onions), shallots, tea and tomatoes. Quercetin can help the body fight allergies because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral properties.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in two common fish: tuna and salmon. The omega-3 fatty acids in these fish may help protect against inflammatory conditions such as allergies. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in walnuts and flaxseed.
Almonds and cashews are both high in magnesium. Magnesium, one of the most abundant minerals in your body, helps reduce inflammation and stress, as well as regulate blood pressure, nerve transmission and insulin metabolism. Other foods high in magnesium include wheat bran, kelp, legumes, fruit, fish and meats.
The vitamin C in oranges can enhance the immune system. Vitamin C largely is used to prevent the common cold, but the intake of all types of nutrients also can be used to strengthen the immune system against allergies. Other foods high in vitamin C include broccoli, strawberries and red peppers.
The theory behind eating local honey for allergies is like the idea behind allergy drops and injections: Consuming local pollen allergens in honey will help build immune system tolerance to these pollens.
It seems reasonable in theory (and quite tasty), but the concentration of pollens in honey is much less than that needed to induce immune tolerance. The specific benefit of using local honey for allergies is a myth. However, various kinds of honey from different plant sources have been found to contain quercetin, which can boost health and disease resistance.
The theory behind all of these foods is that they may act as anti-inflammatory agents or antihistamines. However, there needs to be more allergy-targeted research to prove their effectiveness. Regardless, these healthy foods are nutritious if consumed moderately as part of a balanced diet.
So, if you’re struggling with allergies, give these foods a try.
Learn more about allergy and immunology care at Baylor Scott & White.
This blog post was contributed by Aneesh Angirekula, a medical student at Texas A&M College of Medicine. He is planning on pursuing a career in internal medicine and is currently interested in specializing in allergy/immunology.