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Are your allergies making you miserable?
Do you suffer from constant sneezing, congestion, itchy and watery eyes and a runny nose?
Medications, both prescription and over the counter, are important in treating allergies, but what you eat can also make a big difference in the severity of your symptoms.
Cutting down on inflammatory foods and increasing your intake of anti-inflammatory foods can help ease discomfort.
Inflammatory foods include highly-processed items such as foods with added sugar, refined carbohydrates such as white bread and white pasta, pastries and sweets, fried foods, sodas, and processed meats such as hot dogs and sausage.
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Anti-inflammatory foods are mostly plant-based foods such as nuts, fruits and vegetables and legumes.
Fatty fish, as well as nuts, seeds and yogurt also help fight inflammation.
Many of these anti-inflammatory foods also inhibit histamine release. Histamines are often a major culprit in causing allergy symptoms.
Let’s take a look at some specific substances in foods that can help fight allergies.
Quercetin is a flavonoid that is thought to reduce inflammation and is known for its anti-allergic properties. It also inhibits histamine release.
In fact, quercetin is a main ingredient in many anti-allergy drugs.
This powerful compound is found in cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, apples, berries, citrus fruits, grapes, wine, and tea.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, pineapple, lemon, and grapefruit, as well as bell peppers, strawberries, and potatoes are good sources of this vitamin.
Vitamin C has been found to reduce inflammation and swelling. It is most effective against upper respiratory allergy symptoms.
These powerful fatty acids are abundant in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, bluefish, herring, and tuna.
They have anti-allergy properties and help reduce the severity of symptoms.
Eating fatty fish twice a week provides enough omega-3 to be beneficial.
Other sources of omega-3s include walnuts, flaxseed and canola, soybean, and cod liver oil.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that live in our intestinal tract and keep us healthy. They may also help reduce allergy symptoms.
You’ll find these healthy bacteria in fermented foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, buttermilk, feta and blue cheese, kombucha tea, kimchi, kefir, miso, and raw apple cider vinegar.
People who have severe allergies should not give up traditional medications. But paying including these foods in your diet can increase the effectiveness of your medications and can help ease your symptoms.
And always remember, real food is best. Supplements containing vitamins, probiotics and omega-3s don’t contain the full range of nutrients found in food.
Susie Bond is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist in private practice. Contact her at [email protected]