According to a recent study published in Thorax in 2007, eating the correct foods can ease Allergies brought on by airborne allergens (Pollen, dust, mold spores) alleviating symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing and wheezing (as in Hay fever, Allergic Rhinitis).
It was determined that people on Crete (one of the Greek Islands) suffered fewer allergies than elsewhere even though there were just as many allergens in the air. So scientists did a study that included 690 island youngsters, they were tested for allergies to airborne triggers and their parents reported on their children’s diet and symptoms. Eighty percent of the youngsters ate fresh fruit a minimum of 2 times per day, and sixty eight percent ate veggies a minimum of twice each day. Kids who had more nuts, oranges, apples, grapes and tomatoes – all foods grown locally – had fewer symptoms than individuals who had less.
Foods That Combat Allergies
Note that a lot of the foods listed below which help prevent allergies are anti-inflammatory, thus reducing the immune system response.
Fruits rich in antioxidants (e.g.: vitamin C), will lower inflammation. Try to eat at least two pieces of fruit or portions of berries every day all year round. If you are especially congested, the following are great choices – an orange, a portion (cup) of strawberries, an apple, a portion of grapes or a medium-sized slice of watermelon.
Red grapes are packed with the resveratrol an antioxidant which was found to decrease wheezing in the Crete study.
Almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts, are a great source of vitamin E, which helps lessen inflammation and ease your allergies. Try eating a serving (1 oz) of any of these nuts every day to help prevent symptoms. Should you still get any symptoms, take a couple more servings each day.
Fish (mackerel, trout, wild salmon, herring and sardines), as well as walnuts and flaxseed, are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are very good inflammation fighters and thus help your allergies. Eat a minimum of two portions of these fish every week throughout the year and increase to three portions throughout whichever season makes your allergies worse. Additionally take a tablespoon of ground flaxseed and a dozen walnuts each day.
Oysters, shellfish, legumes, tofu and whole grains, are all great sources of zinc, which is needed to support the immune system. Take a couple of portions of these each week and again double that up if your allergies flare.
Tea, both black and green, is rich in flavonoids, plant compounds that lessen inflammation. Tea also increases proteins in the body which combat infection, once again easing an immune system exhausted fighting allergies. Have a cup daily, and increase if your allergies are troublesome.
Helpful Tip: Drink the tea with honey and lemon. this will help activate the small hairs in the nose (cilia) which help keep the airways clear of airborne allergens.
Hot mustard, horseradish, sage, fennel and anise also serve to stimulate the cilia so add a pinch to your meals when you can to help ease allergies.
Some Allergies Require Changes in Diet All Year
If you have allergies all year-round, get allergy tests to determine the exact cause of your allergies. Depending on the results you may have to make more radical changes to your everyday diet…
If you are allergic to mold eliminate yeast containing foods ie breads, (or buy “yeast free”versions)… also fermented drinks or foods (wine, beer, cider and spirits or sauerkraut )…any foods that can get moldy, such as mushrooms and cheese… vinegars and sauces containing vinegar, like mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, mustard and salad dressing.
Helpful tip: Use lemon juice and spices in salad dressings instead.
Dairy products, such as yogurt, butter and ice cream, might make a stuffy nose worse if you have an allergy to dust. One theory suggests that the protein in milk products, can advance the development of mucus. Though there isn’t strong scientific evidence proving this, you might try cutting dairy products from your diet for a minimum of two weeks. If your allergies improve then you may decide to eliminate dairy products permanently, if you do then be sure to take a calcium supplement (1,000 milligrams (mg) a day), to make up for the decreased calcium intake.
Studies have shown that soy, corn and wheat may make chronic congestion worse. Even if you don’t test positive to soy allergy in your tests try eliminating it for at least two weeks and if you feel better …avoid it in future.
The same is true of corn products and wheat products. Eliminate them (unless of course they are “wheat-free” or “gluten-free”) and if you find that your allergies are improved by eliminating any of them then eradicate them year-round.
More information on Diet and Allergies