Taking antihistamines is the most common way to ward off seasonal allergies; however, there are certain foods that can help you alleviate the symptoms of a runny nose, sneezing, congestion and watery eyes. Some foods have anti-allergic properties mainly due to their anti-inflammatory, decongestant and bronchodilator effects.
Here are a few foods that have anti-allergy properties:
- Foods rich in Quercetin: a bioflavonoid
which has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-histamine
properties. It works by stabilizing the cell membranes of mast cells
and basophils, thereby preventing the release of histamine. Good
sources of quercetin include onions, apples, berries, cabbage,
cauliflower, and green and black teas. Research has proved that
consuming diets rich in quercetin lowers the risk of certain cancers,
blood pressure and hence the risk of heart disease and improves lung
- Walnuts and Flaxseeds:
These are good sources of plant based omega 3 fatty acids. A high
intake of omega 3 fatty acids is associated with decreased risk of allergies especially the ones due to bad dietary habits.
If you are not allergic to fish- salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel,
sardines and anchovies are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids too. Be
careful while eating fish as they may have high levels of mercury.
Ground flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and anchovies
also have a high selenium content which is a mineral with anti-allergy
- Magnesium-rich foods like
cashews, almonds and kelp have excellent allergy relief effects as
magnesium is an antihistamine and bronchodilator. It relaxes the
muscles of the bronchial tubes and of the whole body. A study conducted
on animals exposed to allergens found higher levels of histamine in
those with magnesium deficiency than those with adequate magnesium levels in their bloodstream.
- Turmeric: This native Indian
spice used mainly in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine has many medicinal
properties. This bright yellow colored spice contains curcumin, a
powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory substance. Fresh or dried turmeric
can be used to flavor foods like meat, fish, curries, rice, pastas,
salad dressings, stews and vegetables or you can take supplements
depending upon your lifestyle.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables:
Green vegetables and citrus fruits like lemons and oranges contain
hesperitin/hesperidin. Both are potent phytonutrients, (hesperidin is
bound to a sugar molecule) having antioxidative, anti-inflammatory,
cholesterol lowering, anti-carcinogenic and anti-histamine effects. A
research study that studied the diet of children over a year concluded
that children who ate raw vegetables and citrus fruits were less likely
to suffer from wheezing, shortness of breath and hay fever than
children who ate white bread, margarine and processed foods.
- Garlic: Garlic
is known to have many curative properties since ancient times and
this super food has been used to cure a wide range of ailments. Garlic,
apart from improving heart health by lowering cholesterol, reducing
blood pressure and preventing and treating cancer, can also help reduce
allergic reactions. The ability of garlic to hinder the effect of
certain enzymes that produce inflammatory compounds namely thromboxane
and prostaglandins can help prevent allergy. Apart from this, garlic
also contains a fair amount of vitamin C and selenium, both of which
have anti-allergy effects.
- Spices like horseradish,
fennel, anise and hot mustard have a sinus clearing effect and act as
natural decongestants, by stimulating the mucosal cilia to break up
congestion, hence relieving allergies. You can add them to spicy foods
and look up recipes that include them when you start feeling stuffy.
- Vitamin C rich fruits
like oranges, apples, watermelon, strawberries etc. can help relieve
symptoms like hives and itchiness as it prevents histamine release,
helps breakdown histamine faster once released, reduces swelling as it
has anti-oxidant effect that counteracts the effects of free radicals.
Supplements or Vitamin C tablets can be taken to alleviate allergy
- Green Tea: Normally used to
aid in weight loss, catechins (the chemical compound found in green
tea) is also known to inhibit the enzyme responsible for converting
histidine to histamine. Use loose green tea
leaves instead of tea bags and let it stand for five minutes. To
enhance the absorption and availability of catechins in the body,
complement it with a substance rich vitamin C like lemon, fruit juice
- Purplish-red colored foods
like beets, cherries, berries, red and dark purple grapes are rich in
anthocyanin, a natural anti-inflammatory agent, thus reducing allergies. Increased intakes of anthocyanins from fruit and vegetables also reduce blood vessel hardening and improve overall heart health.
Click Here For More Articles