There are a few things we can’t change in this world, no matter how hard we try. One is Denis Leary’s new hair. And another is the allergies that springtime pollen bring to us. So since we can’t make the pollen disappear, (or take Denis Leary to the barber), here are some tips that can help you get through this allergy season with a smile on your face! (I, myself have noticed a huge difference in my allergies this year because of them!!)
I know you all know the trick about eating raw, local honey, right? Ideally you should start eating it before the season officially begins, and eat a spoonful everyday. The idea behind this is that you are consuming tiny bits of pollen in the honey which will make your bodies become immune to the heavy stuff once it drops. This one’s kinda tough for me because I’m not a sweets person, but it could be worse, I suppose. I mean, the bees could produce mayonnaise.
Did you know that there are other foods that can make your allergy symptoms better plus some that can actually make them worse?
Celery, carrots, almonds, and stone fruits (especially peaches) are actually not great for tree pollen allergy sufferers. Eating them could trigger a bad reaction this time of year. And if grass is what makes you crazy, you probably should avoid melons, tomatoes and oranges. Allergic to ragweed? Don’t get near bananas, cantaloupe, cucumber, zucchini and chamomile tea. Just as allergy symptoms in general can range from harmless to serious, the same goes for the added sensitivity to these foods. So if you’re a big springtime allergy sufferer, maybe start some experiments of your own and see if you can make yourself feel better by cutting any of these foods out.
And foods like red grapes, onions, blueberries, red bell peppers, tuna, green tea and anything full of probiotics are all supposed to help with your allergy symptoms. All of those foods are good for us anyway, for various reasons, but it’s nice to hear a reason why we should be eating them more in the spring!
The red grapes, onions and blueberries all contain an antioxidant called quercetin, which may prevent immune cells from releasing histamine…which is a good thing to prevent. We don’t like histamine. Histamine bad. Histamine is the protein that triggers allergy symptoms, which is why many of you take anti-histamines this time of year…to block that sucker! But maybe you can stop if you eat more of those foods!
(Recipe idea- besides eating red grapes raw, you can roast them (along with the good-for-you onions!) in this delicious brussels sprout recipe of mine:
The red bell peppers are packed with vitamin C (1 cup has more than 150% of the recommended daily dose!!), which has been shown to reduce the inflammation that makes us sneeze.
(Recipe idea- slice up some raw red peppers next time you’re having a party and serving dip. Or for a cooked option, stuff them and bake them in my Brown Rice and Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe:
Tuna has omega-3 fatty acids, of course, you knew that, but did you also know that those omega 3’s can reduce the inflammation in your sinuses? Just another reason to not only take a daily fish oil supplement, but to also get as much fish in your diet as you can this time of year. People who have higher levels of the fatty acid in their bodies have been proven to be less likely to suffer from allergies.
(Recipe idea- if you can get it fresh and sashimi grade, then broil, grill or pan-sear tuna for an easy and quick protein at dinnertime but if you can’t get your hands on any fresh- just use the canned stuff!! Make sure you buy a good quality, line-caught tuna and mix it with ripe avocado instead of mayo it to make a healthier tuna salad or sub it for the tilapia in my Tilapia/Avocado Cakes:
Green tea is just good for us for a lot of reasons. I can’t stomach it personally, so I take a daily supplement and ever since I started doing that, I’ve noticed a big difference in my immune system’s behavior. But the EGCG (the antioxidant found in green tea) can also block the production of histamine.
And if you’re not getting daily probiotics by now, shame on you!! Here’s another reason why eating yogurt (natural, plain varieties really are best- Stonyfield Farm has a ton of good bacteria in theirs), drinking kombucha, drinking kefir, or at the very least- taking a probiotic supplement daily is super good for you- studies have shown that people who got daily doses of probiotics, along with their allergy meds, had less discomfort than those who just took their meds. So…maybe if your symptoms are mild enough you could stop taking the meds altogether!
So, there you go! I know, I know, like you needed another person telling you to eat more antioxidants and probiotics… But I don’t know about you, I’ll try anything to have a clear head this time of year!!
Good luck out there! (You too, Denis.)