Allergies are a funny thing. They can develop early in life and then fade away as the years go by. Or, a person without any childhood allergy symptoms may see a sudden flare-up later in life. They come and go with the years and the seasons, showing their complex nature. While some of us are lucky enough to never develop seasonal allergies, most of us experience them to some degree, at one point or another. It’s no fun. Who wants to start off the season with puffy eyes, an itchy nose and a foggy head? The good news is that we can favor certain foods to help alleviate these symptoms! If you've had your share of days where those over-the-counter medications like Claritin or Zyrtec are the only saving grace, hopefully this Fall you won’t need to spend much time (or money!) in the antihistamine aisle.
So, what’s the deal with histamine anyway? Our immune systems produce this compound with the best of intentions – to protect us. We appreciate the effort, but it’s a bit of an overreaction. When we’re exposed to irritants like pollen, dust, pet dander, ragweed, you name it – histamine is released into our bloodstreams and we end up sneezing, runny-nosed and itchy-eyed. Luckily, many foods have anti-histamine properties.
So let's get into it. The flavonoid, quercetin, is not only an antihistamine, but it’s also an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compound. You’ll find it in berries, cherries, apples, broccoli, citrus fruits and onions. Vitamin C is also a great immune system supporter, and can help suppress overreactions to allergy triggers. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts are packed with vitamin C, along with green and red peppers, leafy greens and winter squash.
There’s no shortage of allergy-fighting foods. To recap, here are some of our favorites:
- Fresh fruits – apples, cherries, berries, citrus
- Fall root veggies like beets, sweet potatoes and carrots
- Brussels sprouts
- Red and green peppers
- Winter squash
- Chia seeds
- Apple cider vinegar
- Whole grains like quinoa, oats, sorghum and millet
And the list goes on… there’s something for everyone. Now grocery shopping can serve more than one purpose!