Spring has sprung and with the beautiful blossoms and chirping birds often comes the misery associated with seasonal allergies. The good news is that you need look no farther than your refrigerator for natural allergy relief. Foods rich in vitamin C and folic acid help reduce the inflammation associated with allergic reactions. So, the next time you’re shopping, stock up on these anti-allergy foods:
1. Broccoli – This powerful produce serves two purposes in battling your allergy symptoms. It’s high in allergy-relieving vitamin C and it’s a member of the crucifer family, plants that have been shown to clear out blocked-up sinuses. Researchers have found about 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C daily can ease allergy symptoms, and just one cup of raw broccoli packs about 80 mg.
2. Citrus fruits – To reach that 500-milligram vitamin C level from whole food sources, you can also turn to oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. A large orange contains nearly 100 mg of vitamin C, while half of a large grapefruit contains about 60 mg.
3. Kale – It’s no longer just a garnish. Hailed as a “superfood,” kale packs a one-two punch against allergies; like broccoli, it’s a member of the crucifer family, but it’s also rich in the carotenoid department, pigments believed to aid in fighting allergy symptoms.
4. Grapes - When it comes to fighting springtime allergies, the Mediterranean diet may be a good bet, according to a recent study. Published in the journal, Thorax, researchers found that children from Crete who consumed a diet full of grapes, oranges, apples and fresh tomatoes – staples on the island – had decreased rates of wheezing and rhinitis.
5. Collard greens – Hating your hay fever? Put collard greens on the menu for the same reason as kale. Their phytochemical content, mainly, carotenoids, eases allergy issues. To increase the amount of carotenoids your body absorbs, eat the veggie with some sort of fat source. For example, lightly cook it in olive oil.
6. Onions and garlic – Quercetin is another secret weapon that helps fight allergies by acting like an antihistamine. Researchers have found that quercetin prevents immune cells from releasing histamines, chemicals that cause allergic reactions and may help reduce symptoms of allergies, including runny nose, watery eyes, hives and swelling of the face and lips. Onions and garlic are packed with quercetin, as are apples.
7. Milk – Research shows a promising connection between vitamin D and its ability to control asthma and wheezing. Milk is often fortified with vitamin D, but if dairy doesn’t agree with you, you can try vitamin D-fortified orange juice or fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna or mackerel), which are naturally rich in vitamin D. Or simply soak up a few rays of sunshine.
8. Carrots – Another carotenoid powerhouse, carrots contain lots of healthy beta-carotene to help ward off your ragweed misery. You’ll get more of the valuable vitamin if you lightly steam your carrots, rather than eating them raw, or sauté them with a healthy fat, such as coconut oil.
There’s nothing quite like a bowl of soup when you’re feeling sick. Try this recipe for an anti-allergy version:
9. Anti-Allergy Soup – Boil an onion (with skin) and a clove of garlic. Add ½ cup chopped leaves and diced taproots of evening primrose. After boiling for about 5 minutes, add a cup of nettle leaves and a cup of diced celery stalks, and boil gently for another 3 to 10 minutes. Before eating, remove the onion skins and eat the soup while it’s still warm. Season with wine vinegar, black pepper, hot pepper, turmeric, curry powder, or celery seed.