Are you looking forward to the warmer weather of spring, but not the sniffling and sneezing? In this blog I’ll discuss key foods that may help fight seasonal allergies. In general, consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial for your overall health, but can also protect you and ease your allergy symptoms.
Research shows us that certain foods can help fight allergies by controlling inflammation. Inflammation is a natural process that helps the body heal and defend itself from harm, like an infection, illness or injury. Allergies are a result of the body’s immune system reacting to a substance that is not harmful to the body. Allergic reactions can be caused by common springtime allergens such as pollen and ragweed. This immune response causes increased inflammation through the release of a chemical called histamine. Chronic inflammation can drive illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver disease. Consuming anti-inflammatory foods such as fatty fish, olive oil, nuts and seeds that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, can help reduce inflammation. Fruits and vegetables are packed with key nutrients that also fight off inflammation.
Studies show that following a Mediterranean Diet, could provide allergy relief. The Mediterranean Diet is highly regarded as one of the healthiest by many health organizations. Below you will find other foods that can help you fight off allergies.
- Citrus Fruits – Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant that prevents oxidative stress in the body and is also a natural antihistamine. Consuming adequate amounts of Vitamin C from citrus fruits such grapefruits, oranges, lemons and kiwis, can also help fight infections.
Recipe: Green Citrus Smoothie
- Tomatoes – In addition to Vitamin C, tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, an antioxidant compound that decreases the allergic response of eosinophils, a type of cell that perpetuates uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Lycopene, also known as a carotenoid, gives tomatoes its vibrant red color.
Recipe: Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce
- Fatty Fish – Studies show that fatty acids, specifically Omega-3, have natural anti-inflammatory effects that boost the immune system. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend individuals consume 3-4oz. of fish at least two times each week. Examples of fatty fish include salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, and trout.
Recipe: Garlic Pepper Roasted Salmon
- Probiotics – These are ive microorganisms that have health benefits when consumed. Evidence proves a healthy intestinal microbiota facilitates the development of immune intolerance. Further research is needed to confirm specific dosing and strains. Probiotics can be found in yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh and kimchi.
Recipe: Cheesecake Yogurt Parfait
- Onions – Onions are an excellent source of quercetin, a bioflavonoid that acts as an antihistamine, reducing symptoms of seasonal allergies. Onions also contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. It’s recommended that the onions are consumed raw, as cooking reduces the total amount of quercetin.
Recipe: Corn & Queso Salad
- Herbs and Spices – Turmeric and ginger are both natural remedies for several health conditions. Ginger contains antioxidative and anti-inflammatory phytochemical compounds that benefit your health. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, is a phytochemical with anti-allergenic properties.
Recipe: Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower
Next time you’re at the store, stock up on some of these foods to naturally combat symptoms this allergy season. For more tips on how to use Food As Medicine, schedule an appointment with your Kroger Dietitian. They can help you navigate the aisle and help you choose products and share recipe ideas that align with your personal goals, while saving you time and money. Springtime allergies got you down and feeling like you can’t leave the house? No worries! We’ll chat with you virtually, through Dietitian Direct. Our team of Dietitians will bring our food, grocery, and clinical nutrition expertise right to you, in a personalized, non-judgmental way.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.