This post was originally written by me for MarthaStewart.com. To read original post, click here.
As spring approaches, you may find yourself dreading the outdoors if you are, like many, an allergy sufferer who is sensitive to seemingly everything surrounding you. There are, however, many natural ingredients that can help!
Nettle (or Stinging Nettle)
A plant that has both a culinary application in dishes such as soups and pestos and commonly taken as a supplement to support the inflammatory response and seasonal allergies. It is not only effective in quelling allergic reactions by controlling histamine, but it also does not cause drowsiness, unlike some over-the-counter allergy medications. Try making your own tea mixed with peppermint if pills aren’t your thing.
Probiotic containing foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and pickles should be a staple in the diet headed into allergy season. Probiotics are simply beneficial gut bacteria that play a crucial role in not only supporting proper digestion but also play a major role in immune health. A large number of immune cells which act as a first line of defense against pathogens are located in the gut, so feeding the intestines these types of bacteria through a diverse diet will fortify their defenses and arm them with allergy-fighting capabilities.
This fruit of the rose plant which are rich in vitamin C. During an allergic flare up, controlling inflammation is key. One of the role’s of Vitamin C in the body is to act as a free-radical scavenger and therefore keep inflammation in check. A common way to enjoy rose hips is by drinking an herbal tisane. You may also find it in a supplement form, usually combined with other forms of vitamin C such as ascorbic acid.
Bromelain is an enzyme known for its anti-inflammatory properties and it is said that the stem of the pineapple has a jackpot concentration of it so be sure to chop up parts of it and throw it in your fruit salad or juicer.
According to quercetin.com, capers are one of the best food sources of quercetin, a type of flavonoid — a plant chemical with health-promoting attributes. Most flavonoids are known for their ability to combat cellular insult in the body and to properly manage inflammation, especially critical during allergy season. Capers make a great accompaniment to chicken dishes or salads.
Beer and wine contain histamine and drinking them induces the release of additional histamine from the mast cells in the body, manifesting in common allergy symptoms like: stuffy nose, headache, or even asthma. Histamine is a necessary chemical in the body, but controlling the amount of it is critical to maintaining normal or optimal health and one easy way is to simply avoid foods high in histamine.
This herb has traditionally been used to help relieve symptoms of hay fever and sinusitis. Take advantage of the calming, soothing, and astringent properties of this natural plant. The loose herb can be prepared as herbal tea. And the supplement can usually be found in most health-food stores.
Besides being a rich source of sulfur-containing compounds (think disease-fighting) and cardioprotective, the onion family are also abundant in quercetin, a phytonutrient that helps provide relief from allergy symptoms. In nature, the quercetin found in onions and other types of plants acts as a defense mechanism protecting the plant from environmental stressors. In our bodies, the compound can act similarly to help combat further insult and damage to our cells.
The omega-3 fatty acids, probably the most well-known of the healthy fats found in higher concentrations in fish like: herring, sardines, mackerel and salmon are prized for their many health perks. Some sufferers of seasonal allergies experience dry, irritated skin, or rashes. Adequate intake of nourishing fats will help promote a more normal and balanced skin complexion. You can also find Omega-3s in flaxseeds.
Avoid Trigger Foods
It is quite possible that by consuming foods your body is intolerant to, the gut lining and digestive tract become damaged over time, leading to health concerns throughout the body such as skin issues and seasonal allergies. Try to pinpoint your trigger food(s), clean up your diet from all culprits and monitor if seasonal allergies symptoms subside. Some common allergenic foods to consider eliminating are: gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, nuts, and shellfish.
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