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As the cold winter slowly melts away and the days slip into balmy spring, something else fills the air. Tiny pollen particles produced by several distinct forces converge to make trees, grasses, weeds, and other allergy producers thrive longer during the growing season. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a twofold pollutant—it’s the main factor in global warming, but it also supplies carbon to plants through photosynthesis. When temperatures rise, these plants feed off more CO2 in the air and become more vigorous, releasing more pollen, which floats on the breeze and makes its way into your nose and eyes. Achoo, oh, the misery… Sadly, you are not alone.
Studies show that 10 to 30 percent of the population worldwide suffers from allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. Doctors and scientists predict the number will continue to rise because of global warming. The effects of airborne pollen are sneezing, watery eyes, a runny nose, headache, loss of appetite, and inability to sleep. Fortunately, you can take steps to lessen allergic reactions. A powerful remedy is found in food.
Certain foods are found to reduce the effects of allergies, helping make springtime more bearable for allergy sufferers. These foods are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients that can help strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce your body’s production of histamine, which it releases in response to irritating allergies. Grapefruit, lemons, and limes are all full of the mighty C and can reduce the effects of hay fever. Strawberries, papayas, pineapple, and kiwi are also good sources of vitamin C, as are green peppers, broccoli, and spinach. Loading up on these fruits and veggies may help you better manage your seasonal allergies.
Onions are a rich source of quercetin, a flavonoid found to help reduce the symptoms of allergies. Quercetin works by blocking your body’s production and release of histamines. Besides its anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties, quercetin is also thought to have antioxidant effects, helping reduce oxidative stress in cells, which can help protect against other chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Overall, onions are an excellent source of quercetin, an effective natural allergy remedy.
Mackerel, Tuna, Salmon, Mussels: and other seafood are rich sources of DHA and EPA, healthy omega-3 fatty acids that are incredibly beneficial to the human body–they help reduce internal inflammation, support your immune system, reduce allergic reactions, and provide heart health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in maintaining your health during allergy season.
Yogurt, Sauerkraut, Miso, Tempeh, and Dairy-Free Kefir are sources of probiotics, the friendly bacteria in your gut that appear to impact hay fever symptoms. Evidence suggests that these microorganisms increase your body’s percentage of regulatory T-cells, potentially easing seasonal allergies and improving your immune system function. Studies show people who include probiotic food in their diet experience less congestion and sneezing and reduced inflammation in their nasal passages during allergy season.
Turmeric: a spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties, contains curcumin, a biologically active compound proven to help combat allergies. Curcumin helps promote nasal airflow and boosts immunity in those suffering from allergies. It reduces histamine production, which suppresses allergic response and oxidative stress.
Foods to avoid: Although it may sound strange if you are an allergy sufferer, do not consume certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds during the high pollen seasons in the spring and fall – your immune system can misinterpret proteins found in these foods with pollen and worsen an existing allergic reaction.
If you’re allergic to weed pollens, steer clear of bananas, zucchini, cucumbers, melons, artichokes, echinacea, chamomile, or hibiscus teas.
Avoiding oranges, tomatoes, melons, and figs is best if you are allergic to grass pollen.
Red wine the histamine and sulfites in red wine can worsen seasonal allergies, making them more intense.
Dairy or milk protein can increase mucus production and function as an immune system irritant when allergies are present.
Honey does nothing to reduce allergy symptoms. Bees collect nectar and pollen from flowers, not from trees, grasses, and weeds, the pollens that cause allergies.
Eating nutritious and healthy foods can help relieve your allergy symptoms, and you can enjoy the beauty of springtime again.
Andrea Breaux is the Founder of Healthy Healing Eats. She writes about food-as-medicine and earth-friendly lifestyle practices. Find her weekly blog, recipes, and products at healthyhealingeats.com.
The Food-as-Medicine philosophy is based on the belief that whole food is a traditional remedy with the therapeutic power to improve and maintain one’s health. The philosophy has been around for hundreds of years.Read More