In many parts of the country my pack is being dogged by high humidity and seasonal allergies, a recipe for major discomfort. But before you reach of that bottle of antihistamines, consider that there are many foods you can add to your diet that actually help to reduce the symptoms of hay fever and other seasonal allergies.
So what should you add to the shopping the list during allergy season? For one thing, clear soups are not only a light and refreshing meal during hot, humid summer days they can help to break up mucus and clear blocked nasal passages.
There have been some recent studies that suggest probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria, found in yogurt, and sometimes added to milk, can help ease certain pollen allergies. Vitamin C and the many other powerful antioxidant vitamins can help minimize a lot of seasonal allergy symptoms. Any foods high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and other phytochemical nutrients that are known to help ease inflammation, can also minimize the worst symptoms of hay fever.
And besides, as readers of the Hound know, these same foods, benefit your body in many other ways, such as improving heart health and giving a power boost to your immune system.
For those of you how do not know, phytochemicals are the nutrients that give plants their amazing abilities to survive outdoors and resist disease. Study after study has shown, that when eaten by us animals, they can have the same effect! Two specific such phytochemicals, a group known as the carotenoids, and a nutrient called quercetin have been found to be very effective in reducing allergy symptoms.
Quercetin – Histamines are chemicals that cause your body to react when you are exposed to something you are allergic to. It has been indicated in published studies that quercetin may naturally inhibit the release of histamines, in the same that pharmaceutical antihistamines do. Quercetin is found in:
- Black tea
- Green tea
- Onions, particularly Red Onions
- Berries, particularly black and raspberries
Carotenoids – A recent Public Health Nutrition study found that seasonal allergy symptoms were less common among people with a high intake of carotenoids. As you might imagine “carrots” are high in carotenoids, other carotenoid rich foods include:
- Dark leafy greens (such as collard greens, spinach and kale)
- Red peppers
Take a Dietary Vacation Away from Seasonal Allergies
Who wouldn’t enjoy a summer vacation on the Mediterranean? Well research shows you can also take a break from seasonal allergies by basically following the “Mediterranean Diet.” That means increasing your daily intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and healthy fats like those in fish, olive oil and grape seed oil. Add aromatic herbs and spices such as sage, rosemary and turmeric to your cooking, and limit your consumption of red meat, dairy, processed foods and sweets.