Think that diet doesn’t affect your allergies? Think again.
Some foods and drinks may have the power to ease or aggravate your symptoms. What you choose to put in your body could have a direct impact on the severity of your allergies.
Of course diet alone cannot cure your allergic rhinitis. But the right foods may help you feel better and possibly alleviate the worst symptoms.
If you would rather find alternatives to drugs for treating your allergies and are looking for natural ways to manage your symptoms, you might want to experiment with some minor diet changes. You may just notice a change in the severity of your allergies. The foods below can work with your body to make your allergies more bearable:
Fish. While the science is still out on this one, some studies suggest that the omega-3 fatty acids found in tuna and salmon can help prevent allergies from developing. For those people who already have allergic rhinitis, not enough evidence yet exists to prove that fish can alleviate symptoms.
Green Tea. Dr. Murray Grossan of Los Angeles insists that green tea is a great natural beverage to help calm allergy symptoms. Green tea contains natural antihistamines. Histamine is the chemical the body releases to fight off allergens during an allergic attack. So having a cup of green tea in the morning may reduce sneezing and coughing and other allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Fruits and Vegetables. One study involving asthmatic children found that kids who ate more vegetables like tomatoes, green beans, and eggplant experienced a reduction in symptoms when compared to those children who ate less. Some specialists suspect that the Vitamins C and E found in fruits and vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes, could reduce the swelling in the airways caused by allergies
Hot Liquids. Remember how your mom always gave you hot soup to drink when you were sick? The warm liquid always worked to clear up nasal passages helping you to breathe. That same rule applies to treating allergy symptoms. Hot tea, soup, and other warm liquids can thin the mucus in your nose and lungs, making it easier for you to expel these unwanted substances.
Yogurt and Other Probiotic-Rich Food. Yogurt and other foods rich in probiotics may help alleviate allergies, although no concrete studies exist to back this claim. Some scientists believe that a healthy intestinal tract can help to regulate your immune system and ease your runny nose, sneezing, and congestion. If you do decide to give probiotic- rich foods a try, choose ones with live cultures.
The Mediterranean Diet. Not only great for heart health, the Mediterranean diet may also be good for allergies. A 2013 report in the Journal of Asthma claims that the Mediterranean diet – one that’s rich in fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains, fish, and olive oil – can help control asthma symptoms.
The Not-So-Good Food Choices for Your Allergies
Just as some foods may help your allergic rhinitis symptoms, others can spell disaster and aggravate your allergies. You’ll want to be sure to avoid the following foods and drinks, particularly when you experience your worst symptoms:
Raw Fruits and Vegetables. While cooked vegetables may help alleviate your symptoms, some raw fruits and vegetables can make matters worse, especially at the height of allergy season. The proteins found in pollen are very similar to those found in some fruits and vegetables and the body’s immune system can mistake the two causing you to react. People allergic to ragweed, for instance, should avoid raw cantaloupe and watermelon since they have similar proteins.
Spicy Foods. You might think that spicy foods will help clear up your sinuses, but they may actually make your symptoms worse. That’s because they can stimulate the release of histamine – the same natural chemical your immune system releases when it comes in contact with an allergen. Histamine is responsible for all the symptoms associated with your allergic rhinitis. While you don’t have to abstain from spicy foods completely, you’ll want to avoid them when pollen count is high and your symptoms are at their worst.
Alcohol. Beer and wine in particular may cause nasal swelling for some sufferers.
While some of the above beneficial foods don’t have hard evidence to prove that they can help ease symptoms, all are healthy choices. If you’re overweight and asthmatic, changing your diet and losing weight may also help alleviate your asthma symptoms as well. A healthy diet reaps all sorts of benefits. You have nothing to risk and everything to gain, so why not give some of these healthy foods a try?