Eat This, Not That…To Fight Spring Allergies from Eat This, Not That…To Fight Spring Allergies

Eat This, Not That…To Fight Spring Allergies

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Eat This, Not That…To Fight Spring Allergies

Allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever or seasonal allergies, makes the lives of 40 million to 60 million Americans miserable every spring. The tree pollen season is upon us and it can last until mid-May, which is also when allergies from pollen and grass usually kick. There is no cure for spring allergies, but there are several ways in which you can manage the symptoms and alleviate how they affect you. Factors affecting the pollen counts and allergy seasons are related to climate change, Dr. Manav Segal from Chestnut Hill Allergy & Asthma Associates in Philadelphia. “Global warming is resulting in shorter, warmer winters, and changing precipitation patterns. The result is earlier spring season, higher pollen counts, more pollinating vegetation, and a longer growing season.” It will also result in more people feeling the effects, he adds. 

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Try honey

The theory behind using local honey is that exposure to pollen in the honey will decrease sensitivity to allergens with time. “Spring allergies are triggered by wind borne pollen, not by pollen spread by insects,” Dr. Segal says. “It's unlikely that honey collected from plants that do not cause allergy symptoms would provide any benefit in improving allergy symptoms, but honey does help soothe a cough,” he adds. He doesn’t discourage it as it can do no harm.

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Avoid water for nasal sinus rinses

Nasal saline sinus rinses are natural measures that can be taken to alleviate allergy symptoms without additional medication. “Sinus rinsing can remove dust, pollen and other debris, as well as help to loosen thick mucus,” Dr. Segal says. “It can also help relieve nasal symptoms of sinus infections, allergies, colds and flu.” Plain water can irritate your nose, he adds. The saline allows the water to pass through delicate nasal membranes with little or no burning or irritation. Distilled, sterile, or boiled water should be used.

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Eat fatty fish

Fatty fish are rich in fish oils, namely N-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA), Dr. Segal says. Studies have shown that LCPUFA may help prevent the development of allergy symptoms and asthma in the developing immune system in the very young, he adds. “LCPUFA present in marine oils probably facilitate a favorable milieu for immune maturation and may contribute to allergy prevention.” They may not be able to treat symptoms once allergies have developed, he adds.

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Spicy foods are a no

The culprit is capsaicin, which is found in different types of hot peppers. Spicy food can cause runny nose and watery eyes even outside the high pollen season. Still, it should be avoided if you know you have allergies because it can trigger the release of histamine, which is what causes the welling and stuffiness in your nasal passages, according to WebMD.

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Have some yogurt or kefir

“Gut flora probably plays an important role in the development of allergic disease,” Dr. Segal says. That said, the way in which it does so is not well understood. “Generally speaking, I recommend probiotics as part of a well-balanced diet. Natural forms of probiotics can be found in fermented foods and in foods such as yogurt with active cultures.”

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Eat broccoli

They are rich in sulforaphane, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory chemical compound. A study found that the green vegetable can stimulate an antioxidant response. This is important because respiratory inflammation is an important factor in asthma and allergies, and is thought to be the principle mechanism by which oxidant pollutants such as ozone and particulates mediate their pro-inflammatory effects.

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Try garlic and onions

A lot of studies are looking to see if garlic is helpful. They are antioxidant rich, Dr. Segal says. Garlic acts as a NSAID pain medication by blocking pathways that lead to inflammation, according to some studies. Both garlic and onions have antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Quercetin, a lot of which is found in garlic and onions, helps fight allergies by acting like an antihistamine. The two are also known to strengthen the immune system, which can make it more resistant to allergens.

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Turmeric may help

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. “It appears to exert potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects,” Dr. Segal says. Recent clinical trials suggest that curcumin is a promising anti-allergic agent that may be useful in the clinical management of allergic rhinitis, he adds. However, it’s important to remember that the dosage of curcumin used in the studies was very high.

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Eat pineapple

The anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain in pineapples can reduce irritation in allergic reactions and illnesses such as asthma, according to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP).Pineapples are also packed with vitamin C, which help alleviate allergic responses, improve the immune system, and detoxify the body from harmful substances such as allergenic proteins.

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Avoid celery

Birch tree pollen may be to blame for your sore throat and congestion. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), consuming foods that contain similar proteins may cause symptoms similar to those of seasonal allergies. Celery can worsen birch pollen allergies.

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Try butterbur

“Often people want to use a herbal approach,” Dr. Mrinalini Borczuk, an allergist at Long Island City Allergy in New York, says. These may include butterbur. A study found that butterbur could suppress allergic reactions in rats. In other research, with people, they showed significant improvement of their allergy symptoms. The participants’ bodies had less amounts of leukotriene and histamines.

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Don’t drink alcohol

In general, it can make an allergic reaction worse, Dr. Segal says. Hypersensitivity symptoms following consumption are common. Symptoms were markedly more prevalent in people with seasonal allergies and asthma, according to AAAAI. Studies show that alcoholic drinks can trigger many allergic and allergic-like responses including rhinitis, itching, facial swelling, headache, cough, and asthma.

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Eat parsley

Parsley is a good source of quercetin, which helps stop allergy symptoms by hindering the body’s release of the allergic compounds histamines. Parsley is also high in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients such as apigenin, which can help reduce the spread of cancer, and carotenoids, which can also help protect against cellular damage.

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Avoid certain fresh foods

Foods commonly associated with oral allergy syndrome (OAS), which can trigger seasonal allergy symptoms, include fresh apples, peaches, cherries, and carrots, Dr. Segal says. OAS, which is common, is characterized by mild oral itching and possibly lip-swelling. The sensitivity is due to the fact that the proteins in fresh fruits and vegetables are very similar to tree pollen proteins, he adds. People who experience oral symptoms with the fresh food can usually eat it cooked as the proteins are fragile and break down quickly.

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Eat kale

Researchers have identified over 45 different flavonoids in kale, according to Ali Miller, RD, LD, CDE. Kaempferol and quercetin top the list. “These flavonoids combine both antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits in a way that gives kale a leading dietary role as a superfood,” Miller says. “Kale can provide great benefits in combating chronic inflammation and oxidative stress while supporting reduced histamine expression during allergy season.”

Eat This, Not That…To Fight Spring Allergies