Hives, medically termed urticaria, is a condition characterized by raised, reddish welts that suddenly appear on the surface of your skin. This condition causes itching and discomfort, but typically does not have any long-term health effects. Allergic reactions to medicines and foods commonly cause hives; however, stress and viral infections can also contribute to this condition. Although diet cannot cure hives, consuming certain foods may reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks.
Vitamin B-5-rich Foods
Vitamin B-5, or pantothenic acid, is a B-complex vitamin known for its role in alleviating stress. This vitamin aids in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter chemical that regulates mood and helps manage anxiety and stress, according to Phyllis Balch, C.N.C., author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Adding foods rich in vitamin B-5 may help reduce your body's stress response, which may decrease the frequency of stress-related hives outbreaks. Whole wheat pastas and breads, hazelnuts, chickpeas, eggs, mushrooms and rye are rich sources of vitamin B-5.
Parsley is most commonly used in the United States as a garnish for soups, stews and meat dishes. It is also an ingredient in some breath fresheners -- the chlorophyll in parsley may help decrease bad breath. Parsley may also help reduce hives outbreaks. It inhibits the production of histamines, which are chemicals that trigger allergic reactions to medicines and foods, according to Michael Castleman, author of "The New Healing Herbs." Add fresh parsley sprigs to soups, casseroles, pasta sauces and marinades. Talk to your doctor before consuming parsley to combat hives -- it may occasionally cause stomach upset.
Vitamin C-Rich Foods
Adding vitamin C-rich foods to your diet may help improve immune system function by stimulating the production of white blood cells in your body. This may help your body destroy virus cells and bacteria, such as Candida albicans and hepatitis B, that can contribute to hives, according to Balch. Vitamin C may speed recovery and help prevent future outbreaks. Add foods to your diet such as blackberries, cherries, asparagus, cantaloupe, avocado, grapefruit, papayas and oranges to boost your vitamin C intake.
Vitamin E-rich Foods
Like vitamin C, vitamin E may stimulate immune system function, helping your body fight off bacteria and viruses that can cause hives. Vitamin E may also improve blood circulation to your skin, according to Balch. The circulation-enhancing benefits of vitamin E may increase the availability of vitamins, minerals, oxygen and fats your skin needs for health and cellular repair. Cold-pressed olive oil, kelp, eggs, kale, spinach, pumpkin seeds and almonds are abundant sources of vitamin E.
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. et al.; 2010
- "The New Healing Herbs"; Michael Castleman; 2010