It´s spring outside, the flowers and trees are blooming and it is the best time to enjoy some free time outside – But watch the allergies! Probably the best way to reduce your symptoms is staying away from your allergy triggers, but if that is not possible, we have some food tips, that might give you some relief instead.
Follow a healthy Mediterranean diet
The journal Thorax published a study indicating that Crete islanders on a Mediterranean diet had fewer allergies. A Mediterranean diet consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts. These foods are rich in antioxidants, which boost the immune system, protect cells from oxidative damage and thus may prevent diseases, such as wheezing and nasal allergies.
Drink Green Tea
Due to containing antihistamines, tea has the ability to reduce allergy symptoms. It is recommended to drink a morning cup of hot tea in order to prevent morning sneezing. As Murray Grossan, an ear, nose, and throat doctor in Los Angeles states "[t]ea, especially green tea1, with or without caffeine, is very good for people with allergies."
Skip spicy foods
I know that we actually always promote spicy food, especially for boosting weight loss by activating your metabolism. Nevertheless, people with seasonal allergies are advised to eat spicy food only at the part of the year when pollen counts are not triggering their allergy symptoms. The reason is that spicy foods create a release of the compound histamine, which only causes trouble when added to the histamine already produced by your body due to seasonal allergies.3 So better avoid it at these times!
Probiotics are proven to have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding. A study published by the British Journal of Dermatology revealed that mothers who drank milk containing a probiotic supplement during and after pregnancy were able to reduce the risk of eczema for their babies.4 Furthermore, another study figured out that children aged 2 years with asthma and allergic rhinitis experienced fewer allergic episodes when taking probiotics.5 You can get your daily probiotic intake from yoghurt or kefir or by adding a probiotic supplement to your diet.
Eat plenty of Vitamin C
We already found out that histamine release is the reason why we feel bad during an allergic reaction. Vitamin C can actually improve these circumstances. It “indirectly inhibits inflammatory cells from releasing histamine,” states Carolyn Dean, the medical director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association.6 Vitamin C reduces histamine and helps in breaking it down faster when released. As a result you will feel some allergy symptom relief, from for example hives and itchiness. Furthermore, vitamin C also reduces inflammation. Referring to Dr. Biolory “Vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning it counteracts the inflammatory effects of free radicals,”. Eating oranges, apples, broccoli, watermelons and more power fruits, will not only be a good idea for staying in shape, but will also keep you healthy!
Consider to drop some pounds
Studies have found out that obesity may worsen asthma. Researchers could observe an improvement for test groups with asthma when losing weight. Of course you should only consider to lose weight if you really need to. Changing your diet and controlling your weight may help to reduce your asthma symptoms.7
Onions, apples, red wine and tea do contain so called ´bioflavonoids´, which can provide allergy relief due to their ability to decrease the number of cells reacting to allergens. The specific bioflavonoid “quercetin” may be particularly powerful in fighting inflammation and providing allergy relief.8
Increase your magnesium intake
Magnesium is known for its calming effect on the muscles of the bronchial tubes and the entire body. A study published by Bringham Young University revealed that animals deficient in magnesium showed higher levels of histamine in their blood when exposed to allergens than animals with an appropriate amount of magnesium.9 Carolyn Dean concludes that “[m]agnesium-rich foods, such as almonds, cashews, wheat bran, and kelp, are excellent foods for allergy relief, because magnesium is a bronchodilator and an antihistamine,”.10
Make fish a dish!
Cold-water fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon has anti-inflammatory effects, boost the body´s immune system and may help with allergy relief. The same applies to walnuts and flaxseeds, as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well.11 You should substitute omega-6 oils found in vegetable oils, like safflower, corn, soy, and canola with “good” fats, the omega-3 fatty acids. They are contained by “fatty, deep water fish like herring, salmon, tuna, cod, and anchovies, as well as olive, grape seed, and avocado oils”.12 Try to consume three times more omega-3s than omega-6s.13
Benefit from ginger
In India ginger is not only a spice, but also important as a virtual medicine, appreciated for its healing properties. Long before science found that it contains 500 different ingredients, the ginger root was known for fighting inflammation.14 Studies have revealed its ability to decrease inflammatory substances linked to various cancers, such as colorectal and ovarian cancer.15 Add this spice freshly cut or as a powder to your favorite dish, brew it with hot water as a tea or take a supplement if you do not like its spiciness too much.
Curcumin – You have never really heard of that spice? It is the active ingredient in turmeric, which is a spice that is particularly used in the Indian cuisine. Research found out that curcumin is as effective as cortisone for treating arthritis of all kinds and has anti-inflammatory effects. This spice seems to be an all-rounder, as it lowers cholesterol, improves circulation and digestion, and lowers the vulnerability for breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer. This is why it is particularly used to treat “arthritis, allergies, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic conditions associated with aging”.16 So stick to our recommendations or just listen to what Leonard Bielory, chairman of the integrative medicine committee for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) and a professor at Rutgers University says, as “[a]n overall healthy diet is helpful for controlling all conditions, including allergies”.17