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 trusted source 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 trusted source, 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.
- 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 Trusted Source, 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.
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 quellsytemic Trusted Source inflammation. Lycopene is more easily absorbed in the body when it’s cooked, so choose canned or cooked tomatoes for an extra boost.
Onions are an excellent natural source of quercetin, a bioflavonoid you may have seen sold on its own as a dietary supplement.
Some research Trusted Source 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.