The changing of the seasons is often considered a new beginning. But if you deal with seasonal allergies, it might be the beginning of headaches, congestion, sneezing, watery eyes and other mild to debilitating side effects.
Thankfully, having symptoms of seasonal allergies doesn't have to become a way of life. There are many natural remedies for seasonal allergies that don't require medication but can still support your body and provide symptom relief.
Allergies are the result of your immune system overreacting to a foreign substance. Though the substance isn't always innately harmful, your body goes on the defense against the intruder. Your body produces compounds called histamines to fight the perceived threat. The symptoms of seasonal allergies you experience — which may include things like a runny nose, sneezing, skin rashes, itching, and watery eyes, — are all initiated by histamines. This is why most allergy medications include antihistamines to reduce and manage your body's response.
Seasonal allergies, also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, tend to affect people more when the seasons change and they are exposed to an increase in outdoor allergens.
The key to fighting against seasonal allergies is to support an overactive immune response. Since food serves as medicine for so many conditions, you can do this through your diet. Here are some foods to focus on:
Quercetin-containing foods. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine and a flavonol that is shown to have anti-allergy and antiviral properties. Its use for treating seasonal allergies is well-recognized as it helps block the release of histamines and lower inflammation that can be caused by allergy symptoms. Foods high in quercetin include apples, berries, raspberries, cherries, red grapes, broccoli, citrus*, fennel and red onion.
Anthocyanin-containing foods. Anthocyanins are a type of plant compound known as flavonoids responsible for giving certain plants their bright red, purple and blue colors. They provide both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit seasonal allergies and many other inflammatory issues. Black currants, blackberries and blueberries, cherries, red cabbage and red radish and wild rice are some of the richest sources.
Herbs and roots. The herbs parsley and thyme and the roots of ginger and turmeric possess antihistamine properties and can be used in cooking in various ways.
Below are two simple and delicious recipes to enjoy while fighting seasonal allergies. You can also reap the benefits of allergy-fighting foods by adding berries or cherries into your morning smoothie or oatmeal and snacking on red grapes.
Start your morning with a warming anti-sensitivi-TEA to help fight off allergy symptoms all day.
1 nettle tea bag
1 chamomile tea bag
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 slice of fresh ginger (whole or grated) - peel first
1 slice of lemon*
Dash of ground or fresh turmeric root (optional)
*Most citrus fruits are not high in histamine but do contain compounds that can release histamines from other foods - "histamine liberators" if you are very sensitive - in this case, omit.
Place all ingredients in a mug and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 5-10 minutes, then remove the tea bags. Sip and enjoy!
This anti-allergy salad is simple to prepare and can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner. If you don't eat salmon, you could leave it out and opt for pasture-raised poultry.
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1½ cups diced organic broccoli (florets, baby broccoli or broccoli sprouts)
1 organic apple, cored and cut into cubes
½ small red onion, diced
¼ cup fresh organic blueberries
Fresh wild salmon - 3-4oz per serving (cooked)
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
Whisk together the olive oil and parsley in a small bowl or glass. Set aside
Mix the remaining ingredients and divide into two salad bowls
Drizzle with the herb oil dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste
Serve immediately and enjoy
There is a lot within our control to support our body against seasonal allergies. Incorporating the natural and supportive foods and recipes outlined above and taking simple measures to keep the inside of our home protected from outside allergens may provide many benefits. Identifying the underlying root cause that may increase your response to allergens and working alongside a certified health coach with a personalized wellness plan is the best way to rebalance your body at the deepest level and enjoy long-term relief.