Seasonal sneezin’ gotcha down? You’re not alone-seasonal allergy symptoms are on the rise as a result of climate change causing extreme pollen counts this year and in the years to come (1). To add to the mayhem, seasonal allergies or hay fever can affect us all the way through spring, summer and even through fall! What’s the good news? Medicine is not the only answer! There are plenty of foods and herbs that can help fight allergies naturally. Check out my 5 favorite allergy-fighting foods below:
Local Raw Honey
- Exposure to the small amounts of local pollen in the honey may help your body become less sensitive and reactive to the pollen overtime. Make sure to go for locally sourced honey and start early-it seems best results are when the honey is started before allergy season (2).
- Add a few teaspoons to your tea or coffee in the morning to boost intake
- Rich in Bromelain, this compound helps reduce swelling of the nasal cavity and sinuses and reduces allergy symptoms as a whole.
- Funny enough, the richest source of bromelain is found in the pineapple core; allow to ripen a bit longer for a softer core and add to smoothies
- High in Quercitin; a bioflavonoid that stabilizes the release of histamine (compounds released in an allergic or inflammatory state) to help naturally reduce allergy symptoms like itchy eyes and a runny nose
- Eat more by adding to raw salads or blending into a fresh salsa
Red Bell Peppers
- Rich in immune-boosting vitamin C, this vitamin also acts as a natural antihistamine and antioxidant. Vitamin C is also known to help degrade excess histamine levels.
- Consume red peppers raw for their highest dose of vitamin C-dip into hummus or add to a gazpacho
- This herbal tea is a powerful anti-inflammatory; causing relief of hay fever symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
- Enjoy it steeped in a mug-better yet, add some local honey!
What Shouldn’t I Eat?
I recommend avoiding foods that are high in histamine. What are high histamine foods? Anything that is aged, fermented or smoked. Think: smoked salmon, kombucha, sauerkraut, aged cheeses, beef jerky, etc. While this may seem counterintuitive to the typical recommendation to eat plenty of fermented foods for gut health, for those struggling with severe allergy symptoms the overall histamine load from food and environment may just be too much. Try focusing instead on fresh, whole foods like grass-fed beef, wild salmon, organic produce and a diet generally devoid of foods known to be correlated with inflammation: gluten, dairy, soy, peanut and sugar.