The new season means warming temps, longer days, and beautiful new blooms. It also means heightened allergies for a growing number of people. Whatever the allergen — pollens, pet dander, dust — symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and itchy, watery eyes impact about one billion people worldwide. Finding relief isn’t easy, but making small, simple changes to your eating habits may help ease symptoms.
Eating fewer inflammatory foods (processed foods often laden with added sugar, refined grains, and preservatives) and replacing them with anti-inflammatory whole, mostly plant-based foods has many health benefits, including protection against disease, including allergic diseases. Enjoy more of these foods to give your diet an allergy-fighting boost.
Onions, Broccoli and Grapes
These foods contain the powerful plant compound, quercetin, known for anti-allergic properties. This antioxidant-rich flavonoid may boost the immune system into action by inhibiting histamine release and acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. Research supports its efficacy in reducing many causes of allergic symptoms, with no significant side effects. Plant extract of quercetin is the main ingredient of many potential anti-allergic drugs and products. Onions are the most studied quercetin-containing food, but this compound is also in cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage, along with apples, berries, citrus, grapes and wine.
Citrus, Peppers and Potatoes
Choosing foods high in vitamin C can be an effective way to help reduce the severity of allergic reactions. An antioxidant and an antihistamine, this vitamin supports the immune system and protects the body’s cells against damage from harmful free radicals. Research has shown that vitamin C may decrease inflammation, swelling and other symptoms of allergic reaction. Studies show that vitamin C seems to be most effective against upper respiratory allergy symptoms caused by allergens like pollen, mold or pet dander. Natural vitamin C-rich foods include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, bell peppers, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes.
Kefir, Kombucha and Kimchi
Probiotics — a mixture of live bacteria and/or yeast that live in the body to help keep us healthy — may also have beneficial effects on allergy symptoms. Probiotics may help stimulate the immune system to improve the body’s defenses and reduce allergic inflammation. According to a recent review of studies, probiotics can reduce the degree of suffering and the duration of allergy symptoms without side effects that often accompany allergy medications. Probiotics are in fermented foods, like yogurt, sauerkraut, sourdough, miso, kefir, kombucha and kimchi.
Salmon, Seeds and Plant Oils
Omega-3 fatty acids have been studied for their association with easing allergy symptoms. Growing evidence supports the beneficial effects of omega-3s in chronic inflammatory diseases, including reducing the severity of symptoms in allergic diseases. Sources include cold water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout and tuna, as well as some nuts and seeds, like walnuts and flaxseed, oils made from them, and some other oils, including canola oil, soybean oil, and cod liver oil.
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(C)2022 Belvoir Media Group, LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency — June 13, 2022