Food for Seasonal Allergies

Everyone seems to be complaining about their allergies this season – including me!  One way you may be able to ease your symptoms is by eating certain foods to help your body fight offending allergens. 

Foods can even go one step further by helping our bodies heal from the effects of these allergens. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, try eating some of these foods:

Ginger: Ginger is a natural antihistamine and decongestant. It may provide some relief from allergy symptoms by dilating constricted bronchial tubes. Use an organic powdered form and sprinkle it on your foods, or buy ginger root, peel it, and add pieces to tea, brown rice, soups, etc.

Apples: Some foods contain the flavonoid quercetin which can cross-react with tree pollen. Quercetin can reduce allergic reactions by having an antihistamine effect. It also decreases inflammation. Quercetin occurs naturally in certain foods, such as apples (with the skin on), berries, red grapes, red onions, capers, and black tea. You can also purchase a high-quality quercetin supplement and follow the directions on the label.

Carrots: Carotenoids are a family of plant pigments that include beta-carotene. A lack of carotenoids in the diet is thought to promote inflammation in your airways. Good sources of carotenoids include apricots, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, kale, butternut squash, and collard greens. These foods are especially bountiful during the fall season, which is the second highest allergen producing time of year.

Omega-3: Omega-3 essential fatty acids can counter the formation of chemicals that cause inflammation of the air passages. Good natural sources include flaxseed oil, and salmon and other cold-water fish, like sardines.  You can get omega-3 supplements, too – just be sure they are high quality and handle them according to the package.   

Yogurt: Food sensitivities seem to be connected with seasonal allergies. In a study conducted at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, patients who were fed 18 to 24 ounces of yogurt a day experienced a decline in their environmental allergic symptoms by 90 percent.  This isn’t the pre-flavored, sugar added yogurt that is the mainstay of the yogurt aisle at the grocery store!  Look for plain yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, and add your own fruit, raisins, nuts, and a natural sweetener, like stevia or a small amount of honey.

Fiber: A healthy and active colon can decrease food sensitivity, which, in turn, can lighten the burden on your immune system and may reduce the impact of seasonal allergies. For maximum colon health, increase the fiber in your diet. Eat more fibrous foods like fruits and veggies, and consider supplementing with a fiber powder or capsule – especially during allergy season.

This information comes from an article published by acupuncturist Batbayar Damdin, Dipl. Ac., L.Ac. If you’d like to learn more about how acupuncture can help with your seasonal allergies, contact Batbayar Damdin at www.harrisburgacupuncture.com or 717-545-2544.