Eating These Foods May Help with Seasonal Allergies
If you’re sneezing, itching, and dodging pollen at every turn, it may be time to shift your focus to what’s on your plate
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‘Tis the season to be sniffly. In most of the U.S., spring allergies begin in February and last deep into the summer. The most common trigger is pollen; trees and grasses release grains into the air to pollinate other plants, all while creating the perfect storm of allergens.
It seems like every year, the consensus among allergy sufferers complain, “This season is worse than ever!” And while allergies may be worsened by changing climates, the root of the problem may actually begin in our kitchens rather than our backyards.
Author and gastroenterologist Dr. Shilpa Ravella says that lifestyle factors could contribute to the worsening of allergy conditions over the last few decades. Specifically, the foods we eat.
“Much of what we do in our lives tie into the gut microbiome,” Ravella says. “Gut health is important for immune health and preventing the development of autoimmune conditions like allergies.”
Ravella says we should be eating a variety of diverse plant foods (commonly found in the Mediterranean diet) to cultivate a diverse microbiome. Vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds can placate an inflamed gut, which can prevent allergies from developing initially.
If you’re already prone to allergies, though, there are different foods to lessen the symptoms. Regular serving sizes of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, and berries contain quercetin, a polyphenol that acts as an antihistamine. That’s the very same ingredient in the popular allergy drugs (which Ravella suggests you continue to take while maintaining this allergy-busting diet.)
Ravella says eating Omega-3 rich foods are also effective at not only subduing inflammation in our bodies, but completely reversing it. You’ll find Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, herring, mackerel, and sardines.
A lesser known allergy remedy is fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, pickles and miso. Studies show that consuming just a small amount of fermented foods a day has been shown to reduce inflammation and increase microbiome diversity.
Last but perhaps most important of all: keep hydrated.
“Water itself is one of the best anti-inflammatories,” Ravella says. “But you can also drink fresh juices and probiotic drinks. Some of us just don’t hydrate well enough.”
Allergies can be debilitating, but these tips can help alleviate the painful symptoms of, “The worst season ever.”
To help you get started on your anti-inflammatory, allergy-busting lifestyle, try this halloumi, zucchini, and lentil salad.