Along with rising temperatures, longer days and outdoor cookouts, summer can oftentimes signal the onslaught of allergy season. Blooming trees and heavy winds can make outdoor excursions a veritable nightmare for many around this time, causing congestion, sneezing and headaches that’ll make you more eager to coop up inside than enjoy the beautiful weather outdoors.
And while prescription and over-the-counter medications can help you combat the adverse effects of seasonal allergies, you might be surprised to learn that diet can play a significant role in managing symptoms as well.
Check out our list of the top 5 foods to try out if you’re suffering from seasonal allergies.
Parsley is rich in quercetin, a natural plant pigment (also known as a flavonoid) that has been shown to block the body’s reactions to histamines, which causes sneezing. In fact, many natural seasonal allergy medicines contain this powerful substance. Onions, apples and berries are also powerful sources of quercetin.
2. Fatty Fish
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as tuna and salmon have been shown to reduce inflammation, which can mitigate seasonal allergy symptoms. A recent Japanese study found that participants who consumed two servings of omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish per week were less likely to suffer from allergic rhinitis.
Ginger has long been a naturopathic remedy for seasonal allergy symptoms, and for good reason. It contains powerful antioxidative and anti-inflammatory substances that have been shown to reduce the irritation of the eyes, throat and nasal passages which can lead to seasonal allergy discomfort. Recent studies have indicated that ginger might even prepare the body to fight seasonal allergy symptoms before they occur. A 2016 study found that mice who consumed ginger were found to have fewer of the proinflammatory proteins in their blood which help facilitate adverse allergy symptoms.
4. Fresh Honey
Allergy sufferers have long extolled the effects of fresh honey when it comes to combating allergies. While there’s no solid research as of yet to support this claim, the theory behind this naturopath remedy posits that consuming a small dose of fresh, local honey at the onslaught of allergy season can help your body develop a tolerance towards the pollen where you live. At least one study seems to support this assertion, with researchers in 2013 finding that people who consumed birch pollen honey at the beginning of allergy season ultimately suffered fewer allergy symptoms than those who didn’t. If you’re trying this technique, ensure you’re consuming local honey, which will contain the allergy-causing plant substances you’ll be exposed to throughout the season.
5. Bee Pollen
Bee pollen contains a potent mixture of flower pollen, enzymes, nectar, bee saliva and wax that has long been touted as a naturopathic cure for hay fever, and recent research seeming to back up the science. A 2008 study found that bee pollen helped to nullify the activation of mast cells in the body, an integral step in the formation of allergic reactions. If it might not sound particularly palatable, bee pollen is surprisingly tasty, with a nutty, mild flavor that tastes great on cereal, oatmeal, salads or in smoothies. Just a couple teaspoons a day is enough to enjoy its symptom-nullifying effects. You can buy bee pollen online; a little under $25 gets you enough to last a while.