Spring is officially here! The birds are chirping, the crocuses are blooming and trees everywhere are covered in blossoms. Unfortunately for many, spring also means the arrival of allergy season. The headaches, itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny nose associated with seasonal allergies are enough to take the wind right of your sails. Before you reach for an over-the-counter remedy that might leave you feeling groggy, try adding these foods to your diet.
- Yogurt – Yogurt has a long list of benefits and now you can add allergies to the list. A study published in the journal, Clinical and Experimental Allergy, found that people with allergies who consumed Lactobacillus casei (a probiotic found in yogurt) had lower levels of the antibodies that are made by the immune system in response to allergic reactions. The researchers believe the probiotics help balance bacteria levels in the gut, which prevents the immune system from overreacting to allergens.
- Capers – These tasty little flower buds are bursting with a flavonol called quercetin, an anti-inflammatory compound found in berries, onions, apples, green leafy vegetables, tea, and tomatoes, among other foods. Research suggests that quercetin can block the effect of histamines, making it a handy treatment for allergy symptoms. A recent double-blind placebo-controlled study in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that people who took 100 mg of quercetin saw reduced allergy symptoms after eight weeks.
- Green Tea – Green tea is also rich in allergy-busting quercetin, but additionally, it contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant that has been shown to decrease the creation of mucus, according to a study published in the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy.
- Stinging Nettle – This perennial herb can inhibit the inflammation that leads to hay fever. A study in the journal Phytotherapy Research suggests that nettle can block histamine production, causing a reduction in the pro-inflammatory responses that cause allergic reactions.
- Local Raw Honey – Taking a tablespoon of local, raw honey every day can help your body build a tolerance to the local pollen that is wreaking havoc on your sinuses. The International Archives of Allergy and Immunology published an article in 2011 that tested how pre-seasonal use of birch pollen honey affected people with birch pollen allergies and discovered that patients taking the honey “reported a 60% lower total symptom score, twice as many asymptomatic days, and 70% fewer days with severe symptoms, and they used 50% less antihistamines compared to the control group” that took conventional meds.