For nearly a decade, I suffered from seasonal allergies after moving to a new area. After years of trying over the counter and prescription allergy medicines with minimal symptom management success, I found that the best way to keep my histamines in check and reduce seasonal allergies was by eating the right foods.
In addition to allergy medicine, either over the counter or by prescription, eating the right foods can help to alleviate allergy symptoms and keep you feeling clear.
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
Also known as hay fever, its causes change from season to season with spring and summer being the most common times for flare-ups due to increased outdoor activity, grass, flower, and pollen production. Common symptoms are:
- runny or stuffy nose
- watery, itchy eyes
- ear congestion
- itchy throat or sinuses
Diet Changes to Reduce Seasonal Allergies
While there is no cure to banish and rid you of seasonal allergies forever, eating the right foods can help alleviate the symptoms. Fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fats like fatty fish, flax, chia, and hemp seeds not only keep you feeling clearer but also help boost the immune system and provide energy.
Foods that Reduce Seasonal Allergies
Onto the good part, all the foods you CAN eat:
Found in fatty fish such as Cod, Salmon, and Tuna, the fatty acids are proven to be anti-inflammatory and this helps give allergy relief as well as prevent it.
Fruit & Veggies
Eat (or drink) the rainbow, and by this, you know I mean, fruits and veggies! Particularly the colorful ones which have a higher dose of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Beta Carotene. Sources such as broccoli, kales, bell peppers, carrots, berries, and citrus fruits. Note: Be sure to thoroughly wash all produce, cook the veggies, and avoid the skin of apples, peaches, pears, etc.- we’ll talk more about this later.
Querce-what?! Easier to eat than it is to pronounce you’ll find this flavonoid antioxidant in onions, apples, grapefruit, berries, and green tea.
Found in pineapple, this powerful enzyme reduces nasal swelling, making it easier to breathe if you’re having a rough case of SA.
Foods that Make Allergies Worse
If you suffer from seasonal allergies you might find yourself more sensitive to certain foods during that time of year and here’s why: many allergens present in the foods we eat, are similar to proteins in pollen.
You’ll find this to be the case with peanuts, soy, and RAW vegetables. Consuming these can cause an allergic reaction such as itchiness in the throat or mouth. This aggravating occurrence is known as oral allergy syndrome.
“But Laura, you said that vegetables would HELP seasonal allergies?!” I did, and hear me out. Most of those allergens are located on the skin and peel of vegetables so washing, peeling, and cooking helps to break down those allergy-irritating proteins. So for now, skip the salad and try steaming, sautéeing, or roasting your veggies.
Some veggies, like carrots, have the same proteins as birch trees, so juicing them may cause an allergic reaction because the proteins are more concentrated. This is something I learned first hand after my nutritionist mentioned I should drink carrot juice in the morning for mineral supplementation. I switched to celery instead.
Important note: this doesn’t mean you are allergic to the food itself, only the pollens in the food. If you are suspicious of a food allergy it’s important to consult your doctor and get tested.
Other items, like gluten, dairy, soy, and alcohol (gasp!) are known to cause inflammation in the body which has a negative effect on any type of allergy or sickness, and in most cases worsens the symptoms.
Allergy Diet Plan
Funny how all the best foods for treating seasonal allergies looks a lot like a healthy and well-balanced diet and that’s no coincidence! A common thread throughout many of these foods is their anti-inflammatory qualities.
Avoiding things that cause further inflammation such as gluten and refined sugar can help to calm inflammatory responses to seasonal allergies.
This looks a lot like what we have to offer in Family Kickstart, which you can see for yourself in this free sample. It’s a 4-week meal plan that replaces processed foods, grains, and all refined sugar with real food meals, all of which are family-favorite recipes, recreated.
So before your allergies have a hay day (pun intended) try incorporating these foods and tips into your everyday. You might surprise yourself and make spring a favorite season.