Over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines may offer some relief to seasonal allergies, but certain brands can also cause side effects like drowsiness. Discuss any allergy problems with your doctor first, and understand that allergies can’t be “cured.” However, certain lifestyle changes -- including your diet -- may help.
Sweet Relief With Fruit
Red wine is often touted as an anti-inflammatory because of the resveratrol content in red grapes. This same effect may help fight inflammation when you eat red grapes for allergy symptom prevention. Apples may be protective against allergies and asthma, possibly because of compounds called flavonoids and polyphenols which have antioxidant properties. The vitamin C and lycopene in tomatoes may also have anti-allergy benefits. On the flip side, people can also be allergic to certain fruits, especially if you have pollen or latex allergies. Apples, apricots, kiwi, melons, peaches, strawberries, tomatoes and bananas are among a few related examples that can actually cause allergy symptoms. So apples and tomatoes go both ways; they can be protective, but only for people who aren't allergic to them.
Go Nuts on Your Allergies
Tree nuts are among the most allergenic foods. An allergy to tree nuts can cause severe reactions after consumption and can even be fatal. However, if you don't have a nut allergy, nuts may offer potential allergy relief. Nuts offer high levels of vitamin E, a type of antioxidant that helps fight free radicals. While vitamin E can’t block histamine per se, it does have the potential of preventing inflammation. Almonds, pecans and walnuts are among the many choices available. Since nuts are also high in fat, keep your intake down to a handful per day.
Load Up on Omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids refer to a type of polyunsaturated fat that helps control triglyceride levels while promoting heart health. Like antioxidants, omega-3s also offer anti-inflammatory effects that may be useful during allergy season. These fatty acids are especially helpful in fighting skin rashes caused by allergies, such as eczema. Salmon and tuna are among the healthiest choices, but you can also eat sardines or anchovies to gain some benefits.
Food vs. Seasonal Allergies
Eating certain foods may offer a bit of protection against seasonal allergies and asthma. However, food allergies are different. Eating certain foods is not likely to prevent food allergies because it is the protein in the allergenic food that causes the symptoms. Milk, wheat, peanuts and eggs are among the most common food allergies, along with soy, tree nuts and seafood. The best way to prevent food allergies is to avoid the foods you know cause symptoms. Another simple yet often neglected way to fight food allergies is to wash your hands frequently to remove residue from any known food allergens.
- Time: 5 Foods to Help Fight Spring Allergies
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Preventing and Treating Food Allergy
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: Food Allergy Defined
- Huffington Post: The Best and Worst Food for Allergies
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Allergenic Foods and Their Allergens: Fruits
- Food Allergy Research and Education: Tree Nut Allergy