Do your seasonal allergies have you feeling sluggish, unpleasant itchy watery eyes, uncontrollable sneezing or scratchy throat?
Do you feel like no matter what medications you take, they leave you feel dizzy, dry throat, or even drowsy? Antihistamine pills help for a while (though some leave you feeling foggy-brained), but there’s an even better solution that doesn’t involve taking medications. Instead of heading to your medicine cabinet, head into your kitchen—because certain foods have natural antihistamine effects. We have compiled a list of foods and simple steps to beat seasonal allergies all by doing it the natural way.
Always consult with your professional medical physician before taking or discontinuing any supplements, or before making changes to your diet.
Allergy Fighting Flavonoids
Flavonoids are a type of compound found in many different foods. They all serve a variety of functions in plants, and are thought to be associated with a number of health benefits for humans. Some particular flavonoids could be an alternative or complementary therapy in the prevention and treatment of some allergies. There are many different sources of flavonoids, including many fruits, raspberries, parsley, red wine, sage, tea, beer, chocolate, broccoli, apples, olive oil and citrus fruits. These flavonoids not only help in controlling these seasonal allergies, but also increase the effectiveness of Vitamin C.
Quercetin is another secret weapon that helps fight allergies by acting like an antihistamine. A bioflavonoid found in plants and foods such as onions, apples, berries and green tea. This natural plant compound stabilizes most cells and prevents histamine release, providing anti- inflammatory and antihistamine effects in the body.
Anthocyanins. These flavonoids give dark purple and red foods their characteristic hue. Not only do they act as natural antihistamines, they also have anti-inflammatory properties. anthocyanin-rich foods help reduce swelling in sinuses and nasal passages and relieve the congestion that leads to headaches and trouble sleeping. Black beans, blackberries, black currants, blood oranges, blueberries, eggplant, elderberries, red cabbage, red leaf lettuce and red onion are all great sources of anthocyanins.
Carotenoids are largely responsible for the red, orange and yellow color of various vegetables and fruits, though they also are found in many dark green vegetables and in other foods as well. A study from the Institute of Epidemiology in Germany found that people with high blood levels of carotenoids, reflecting a diet rich in these flavonoids, were at lower risk for allergic rhinitis. To get more carotenoids into your diet, eat apricots, carrots, collard greens, eggs (the yolks contain carotenoids), kale, salmon, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Cayenne pepper and chili pepper also provide carotenoids.
Green tea stabilizes cells in the body responsible for the release of histamine. In addition, green tea contains theanine, an amino acid that has been shown to block histamine release. It has been found that green tea plays a vital role in fighting against watery eyes, sneezing and cough, which are the basic symptoms of allergies. Drink a cup or more of green tea daily for further relief from aggravating seasonal allergies. Extra ingredient I like to add to my green tea is another allergy fighter raw honey. I will discuss in further detail on raw honey and its benefits on fighting seasonal allergies.
Peppermint tea is an effective remedy for treating allergies. This tea has been used for centuries as a result in its ability to relieve nasal congestion. Peppermint is known for its extremely effective ways to easing inflammation and killing bacteria, clears nasal congestion, coughing and other sinus related issues. You can boil peppermint leaves in water and inhale that steam for getting your nasal passages clear.
Honey and its therapeutic powers help fight off seasonal allergies and and has anti-inflammatory properties, which help in killing the germs and pathogens causing allergies and also heal the body from inside. This nature’s wonder has a blend of sugar, trace enzymes, minerals, amino acids, and vitamins like A1, B1, B6,B12, C, D, E and folic acid. Honey is an antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal and is packed with polyphenols and infection fighting antioxidants all provide significant health benefits. In the case of seasonal allergies, raw honey is most beneficial, but you have to make sure that it comes from a genuine and safe source. One teaspoon of honey, three times in a day, on a daily basis helps fight off seasonal allergies. Add honey to your tea, or homemade peppermint or green tea in place of adding sugar.
Vitamin C-packed Fruits and Veggies
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, antioxidant and antitoxin and also helps boosts immune system thereby preventing onset allergies and reducing the duration of these infections. Some of the best food sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit and lemons ; papaya, bell peppers, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables sauerkraut and kimchi, strawberries, pineapples, kiwi and cantaloupe. One large orange contains nearly 100 mg of vitamin C, while half a grapefruit contains 60 mg. Researchers have found about 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C a day can ease allergy symptoms.
Broccoli is not only one of the healthiest foods- it’s high in allergy- relieving vitamin C and it’s a member of the crucifier family, which helps clear out sinus congestion.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is a powerful anti- inflammatory. Research shows that bromelain can ease sore throats and irritated sinuses. Plus pineapple is a great source of the allergy- fighting antioxidant vitamin C. To get the results eat this tropical fruit fresh. Note pineapple is not great for those who suffer from acid reflux.
Butterbur, the leaves and roots of the butterbur shrub, contain compounds called petasines, which can block some reactions that trigger allergies. (Please note butterbur is not generally recommended for young children, people older than 65 and those with ragweed allergies.) The butterbur root contains high levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can damage the liver, so it is recommended to look for butterbur products that specify no pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Swiss and German researchers found that after 2 weeks of treatment it has shown to relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose, stuffiness and watery eyes.
Probiotics are good-for-you bacteria which are very beneficial to the health of our digestive system, and they may help prevent and even treat seasonal allergies. . The foods containing such bacteria are known as pro-biotic food and are helpful in replenishing the flora of our intestines. These pro-biotic bacteria help in digestion and assimilation of food in the intestine and so, help in boosting our immunity, which ultimately helps in fighting off the seasonal allergies. Probiotics are found in kimchi, kefir, wines, kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut and fermented condiments. You can also buy it as a supplement in capsules or powder form. You can find this at your local health food store.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Tuna, salmon, and mackerel, sardines, walnuts and flax seed all contain omega-3 fatty acids. This fatty acid has great anti-inflammatory properties and can help in reducing the impact and intensity of seasonal allergies.
Solutions Outside Your Kitchen
Neti Pot is another way to clear nasal blockage due to allergies. You can either buy a pre-made saline solution or mixture and then let the neti pot drain into your sinuses as a way to clear out all of the depositions, or you can make your own solution made from one teaspoon non-iodized salt into a small cup of slightly warm water. When combined, mix well and after making sure that the temperature is comfortable. Pour this solution in one nostril and let it get out from the other. Repeat with both the nostrils to get immediate relief.
Saline Solution. Rinsing your nose with a saline solution is an easy, inexpensive way to relieve nasal congestion. This is essentially a salt water solution that helps soothe allergies affecting your upper respiratory system. I personally use Ocean Saline Nasal Spray which you can find at your local drug store.
Essential oils like lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus are also great use to help soothe seasonal allergies.