THE TOP 10 FOODS TO EAT TO REDUCE SEASONAL ALLERGIES
If you’re looking for a natural way to reduce those itchy watery eyes, sniffles and all round feeling not great! Try these top 10 foods rich in “Nature’s Antihistamines”, Antioxidants, Anti-Inflammatories and Nutrients to make this season your best!
Onions are rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids, in particular quercetin that is a “natural antihistamine”. Quercetin helps to stabilize mast cells (immune cells) to prevent the production and release of histamine, as well as other allergic and inflammatory compounds. Enjoy onions in salads, soups, tacos and or stir-fries. Not a fan of onions? Not to worry you can also find quercetin in berries (especially elderberries & blueberries), citrus fruits, apples, garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, buckwheat, legumes, green tea and even chocolate!
These tiny bursts of allergy reducing nutrients are rich in another flavonoid antioxidant called anthocyanins which beautify our foods with a rich red colour that can also be found in berries, grapes, red cabbage and red onions. These in particular help to reduce swelling in sinus passages and reduce the congestion that leads to headaches, trouble sleeping and stuffy noses. Not only that they give us the added bonus of helping the body detoxify.
These tart but sweet treats are one of nature’s wonders with so many great health benefits. Lemons are full of the antioxidant vitamin C which is also a “Natural Antihistamine” supporting a balanced immune system. In addition they help detoxification, play a key role in the synthesis of collagen and are one of the best fruits to include in your menu. Research shows that when children eat just 2 fresh fruits a day there is a marked reduction of wheezing and sniffles.1
Other great sources of vitamin C include: kiwi, pineapple, mangos, red and orange bell peppers, leafy greens (i.e. kale, spinach, parsley, mustard greens, watercress), other veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, beans and legumes.
Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. Enzymes also help your digestive system to break down your foods to get maximum absorption providing your body with optimal nutrition. Other enzyme rich foods include: papaya, kiwi and sprouts!
5. CHIA SEEDS
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids including chia seeds —are anti-inflammatory and thus can reduce the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Other omega-3 rich foods include flax oil, walnuts, cold-water fish (i.e. salmon, herring, mackerel) and grass-fed meat. One study found that those who used an omega-3 supplement over a 5 week period had marked reduced airways and had significant improvements in their ability to breathe. Another study from Japan found that women who ate more fish had lower levels of hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis.
70-80% of your immune system is in your digestive system, so be sure and add healthy probiotics
to your allergy prevention menu. Great sources include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and non-dairy kefir.
7. LOCAL HONEY
Sweet treat! Although the research is split as to whether local raw honey helps allergies, I personally have seen great results! When your local bees go from place to place they pick up the local pollens in your area. By ingesting local raw honey you are essentially exposing your body to local pollen. The theory is that by eating that honey, even just a spoonful a day, the body develops immunity to those allergens similar to the effect of allergy shots. Bee pollen is also known to be rich in phytonutrients that help to support immunity, reduce allergies and infections.
The idea is that bees become covered in pollen spores when they from one flower to the next — spores which are then transferred to their honey.
In addition bees do know a thing or two about immunity as did you know that getting a bee sting actually helps to boost your immunity thanks to what researchers believe is the secret the substances melittin and apelin found in the venom. Melittin can stimulate a gland in your brain known as the pituitary to release another hormone ACTH, which leads to the production of cortisol. Cortisol is released from the adrenal gland is a natural anti-inflammatory, controls the immune system and is one of the key hormones in the stress response. Some with chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis and pain have used bee sting therapy under medical guidance to improve their health. Hmm food for thought, this one is one that you don’t want to try at home though:)
8. GREEN TEA
Green tea is rich in antioxidants known as polyphenols which help to stabilize the cells in the body that are responsible for the release of histamine. Green tea also contains theanine, an amino acid that also help to reduce allergy type symptoms.
9. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (ACV)
This is one of my favourites that I use to make salad dressings every day! Organic apple cider vinegar or what I call ACV has been noted to help those support immunity, help with weight, hair, skin, nails and promote an alkaline pH balance of the body. When the body is pH balanced there is a reduction of inflammation which is one reason why it may be helpful in reducing those sneezes and sniffles. Choose organic raw ACV which is slightly cloudy when you look at it and may have a strand-like sediment known as the “mother” which is where all the probiotics and a lot of the enzymes are. So don’t forget to shake before you pour. A great anti-allergy cocktail is to mix 1 Tbsp. of ACV with 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1-2 teaspoons of local honey (all raw) and enjoy three times a day
Don’t forget to hydrate as allergy suffers do need extra water. Use reverse osmosis (RO) or spring water for the best effects to support increased drainage that flushes mold and pollen out of nasal passages, as well as tears to wash away pollen, mold or dust in the eyes helping to flush out the histamine reaction. Begin with 5-8 ounce glasses of water a day and increase until your urine is almost clear to dilute the allergens in your cells, minimizing their histamine effect.
Do include these hay fever-fighting foods in your diet two to three times a day to give you your daily dose of anti-inflammatory and antihistamine nutrients.
Try my Nature’s Antihistamine Salad
1. Chatzi, L., Apostolaki, G et al, Protective effect of fruits, vegetables and the Mediterranean diet on asthma and allergies among children in Crete, Thorax. 2007 Aug; 62(8): 677–683. , Published online 2007 Apr 5. doi: 10.1136/thx.2006.069419, PMCID: PMC2117278
©Dr. Joël, ND,Inspiring Health Naturally
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