Foods to Avoid During Allergy Season

Red wine pouring into a glass
histamine-promoting alcoholic beverages like wine can aggravate allergies (Image: Boarding1Now/iStock/Getty Images)

If you have pollen allergies, you don’t have to look at a calendar to figure out whether or not allergy season has arrived. You know when you start to suffer from telltale symptoms such as wheezing and sneezing. Often, people take allergy medication and avoid going outside when pollen levels are high. Another option for reducing allergy symptoms is to avoid certain foods that aggravate seasonal allergies.

Raw Fruits and Vegetables that Cross-react

Slicing courgettes
you may want to avoid raw zucchini if you are allergic to ragweed (Image: Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Your immune system may mistake the plant proteins contained in certain fruits and vegetables for pollen, triggering what’s called a cross reaction in the body. This reaction increases allergy symptoms such as itching of the lips, mouth and throat shortly after eating the foods in their raw form, reports ABC News. For example, bananas and zucchini may cross-react in your body if you are allergic to ragweed. Cooking, baking, canning or microwaving the fruits and vegetables may destroy the proteins that cause cross reactions, so fruits and vegetables may continue to be enjoyed during allergy season as long as they aren't eaten raw.

Dairy Foods that Thicken Mucus

Close up of a pot of yoghurt with blueberries displayed behind
dairy products like yogurt can thicken mucus (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Certain foods thicken the mucus that your body produces; this mucus is produced to defend your body from potentially harmful foreign substances. Mucus should be clear and runny to help rid your body of allergens. When mucus thickens, it doesn’t travel through your body well, and allergens become trapped inside your body rather than being cleared out through your nose and mouth. The Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy reports that milk and dairy products made from milk, such as cheese and yogurt, make mucus feel thicker which makes it more likely to irritate your throat. It is not proven that dairy foods produce mucus, but if you are suffering from allergy drainage you will want to avoid dairy products so mucus doesn't feel as thick.

Foods that Promote Histamine

Button mushroom
histamine-promoting foods such as mushrooms should be avoided (Image: Svetlana_nsk/iStock/Getty Images)

Certain foods -- especially ones that have been fermented -- contain or may cause your body to produce a substance called histamine that you naturally release when fighting allergens. Histamine causes classic seasonal allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, wheezing and itching of the eyes and nose. Avoiding foods that are rich in histamine may help you reduce the amount of histamine your body releases, which may reduce the allergy symptoms you experience. Michigan Allergy, Sinus & Asthma Specialists reports that histamine-promoting foods include cheeses, processed meats, smoked fish, dried fruits like raisins, mushrooms, avocados, eggplant, tomatoes, sour cream and foods that contain vinegar. Alcoholic beverages, particularly wine and beer, also promote histamine.

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