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Blooming trees, budding flowers, and fresh green grass are all signs the springtime is here. And while you might welcome that fresh spring breeze, there are some negatives that come along with it like pollen, grass and mold. Each year almost 50 million Americans suffer the unfortunate symptoms of seasonal allergies—itchy watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing—something you may be all too familiar with.
Aside from keeping your doors and windows closed and avoiding the outside world, natural allergy relief is possible. Sure, there are plenty of over the counter treatments like oral antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays, but it’s also worthwhile to note that even though they can help treat your symptoms, they’re not actually helping prevent your body’s reaction to the allergens in the first place. Not to mention, many of the OTC medications also come with the downside of drowsiness, dry mouth, foggy head, and few other side effects that may have you wondering if you’re really feeling better or worse. The good news is that some of the very foods that you may have stocked in your fridge have properties that serve as a natural allergy relief, blocking the histamine your body naturally makes when irritated by allergens.
Omega 3 fats EPA and DHA are unique to cold-water fish and act as antioxidants blocking your body from releasing histamines, as well as helping to reduce inflammation. Omega 3 rich fish include salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and herring. The American Heart Association already recommends eating this fatty fish twice a week for its brain and heart healthy benefits, so if you’re following the guidelines you might already be building an early start to allergy relief.
Sulfophane is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancerous compound found in cruciferous vegetables most notably in Broccoli. Sounds powerful, right? Well, you only need about a cup to reap the full daily benefits. Not a big fan of broccoli, try one of broccoli’s cruciferous cousins, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower or kale.
The flavonoid quecertin is a plant pigment that gives fruit and vegetables their vibrant color. Found in citrus fruits oranges and lemons, as well as apples and berries, the compound also helps to stabilize cells that release histamine into the body. Looking for an option with a little less citrus and a little more on the savory side? Onions and garlic are great alternatives. Feel free to compliment it with a glass a red wine for an additional boost of quecertin.
Almonds and cashews are a great source of magnesium. In addition to being an antihistamine, these magnesium rich foods also serve as a bronchodilator meaning that it helps to dilate the bronchi decreasing resistance in your airway and increasing airflow. It’s also considered a stress reducer so while you’re free from allergen irritations allowing you to enjoy a breathe of fresh air, you can also enjoy the extra boost from magnesium.
If you’re looking to add a little tropical twist to your spring and summer, Bromelain and papain should be considerations to add to your diet. Bromelain is the enzyme found in pineapple. It’s been used for centuries in Central and South America to treat indigestion and reduce inflammation. Papain is an antioxidant found in papaya that helps to protect the body from free radicals, as well as support your immune system aiding in allergy relief. In both cases, go for fresh, you lose some of the nutritional benefits when you opt for the canned or packaged kind.
Eating a diet rich in natural antihistamines year round can help prevent your allergic reactions even if it’s not an everyday activity. Making a conscious effort to change your eating habits at the change of the season will provide great benefits in the long-run, and maybe even spare the added expense of a couple extra boxes of tissues.
Yeah, you can get some of the anti-inflammatory benefits with dietary supplements, but the level of which you have to consume in order to reach what is provided naturally in food is substantially greater. So, now is the time to start considering some modifications to your weekly grocery list to stay symptom free for natural allergy relief.