Ease Seasonal Allergies with these Eating Tips
We recently started a blog series “Food as Medicine” and this month’s health tips certainly fall under that topic. Because it’s that time of the year – when the flowers bloom, the birds sing, the trees bud and the grass turns green again. But for some of us, Spring can be somewhat miserable as outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you can make some simple changes to your diet to help you feel better. So here are six tips of allergy-fighting foods and drinks you should try, and a few you should avoid. You can’t cure your nasal allergies with a special diet. But what you eat can make a difference in how you feel.
Tip #1: Eat Fish
Some studies show that omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, tuna, and other fish, might lower your chances of getting allergies in the first place and may help when you have them. Some research indicates that eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful for reducing asthma symptoms for instance. For instance, study participants taking the omega-3s had lower levels of a marker of airway inflammation.
Tip #2: Consume Hot Drinks and Soup
These fluids can warm up your stomach and your airways. That helps thin mucus in your lungs, making it easier to cough up. “Tea, especially green tea with or without caffeine, is very good for people with allergies. Tea contains natural antihistamines, which makes it a great addition to your diet to reduce allergy symptoms. Drink a cup of hot tea just when you get up to help prevent morning sneezing.
Tip #3: Add Yogurt
You might not think that your digestive tract has much to do with your runny nose. But some experts say that having “good” bacteria or probiotics in your intestines might help allergy symptoms such as runny nose and congestion. Yogurt is a good natural source of probiotics. Buy a brand that has live cultures in it.
Tip #4 – Try Some Wasabi
Wasabi, the pungent green paste served with sushi in Japanese restaurants, might be helpful in opening up your nose and helping you breathe better when you have allergy symptoms The next time your nose is plugged up, drop into a sushi restaurant for a bit of wasabi. It might do the trick if you can tolerate the heat. (Hint: Nibbling on Wasabi Dried Peas is an easy way to get more Wasabi in your diet without eating sushi all the time.)
Tip #5 – Avoid Spicy
Spices can trigger the release of histamine. That’s the chemical that causes swelling and stuffiness in your nasal passages. While you may like eating spicy Thai and Mexican foods, avoid doing so when high pollen counts are triggering allergy symptoms.
Tip #6 – Limit Raw Fruits and Vegetables
While it pains us to say this as raw fruits and veggies are so good for us, during the height of allergy season, when symptoms are really bothering you, cut fresh foods out of your diet. Stick with cooked foods as these lessen your risk of developing allergy symptoms. Some pollens have proteins that are very similar to those in everyday fruits and vegetables, and your body can mistake the two. If you’re allergic to ragweed, for example, you might also have symptoms after eating cantaloupe or watermelon. Among other raw foods, raw apples or pesticides on lettuce may bother your allergies. However, cooking fruits and veggies often destroys these proteins. That lowers your chance of a reaction. (Hint: Roast your vegetables in the oven or put them on a grill – enhances their flavor and nutrition.)
Changing your diet with these tips hopefully will help, but if you suffer from severe seasonal allergies, make sure you are also receiving medical treatment. Out-of-control allergies can cause a lot of problems, so getting medical care is also important.
Sources: WebMD, everydayhealth.com.