Allergies are one of the top reasons that people in the United States visit a doctor. Up to 50 million Americans have some type of allergy.
An allergy is an adverse reaction by your body’s immune system to a substance that does not bother other people who are not allergic to it.
Any substance that triggers an allergic reaction is called an allergen. Some common allergens are pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, latex, various foods, insect stings and certain medicines.
An allergic reaction can affect the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or the skin. It can cause a variety of symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, itching, watery eyes, red eyes, wheezing, hives, flaky skin, skin rashes, shortness of breath, swelling or asthma. These symptoms can range from minor to severe and mostly depend on the allergen.
There are several ways to treat allergies to prevent annoying and troublesome symptoms. If you are prone to allergies, you can include some anti-allergy superfoods in your diet to prevent as well as alleviate the problem.
Here are the top 10 anti-allergy superfoods.
An apple a day can keep your immune system healthy and can keep allergies at bay. Apples are loaded with quercetin, a flavonoid known to effectively protect against allergic reactions. Quercetin stabilizes the cell membranes of mast cells and basophils, in turn preventing the release of excess histamine in your body.
Enjoy an apple daily, but be sure to eat organically grown apples. You can eat apples plain as a healthy snack, slice them into oatmeal or toss them in a fruit salad. A glass of apple juice is also a good choice.
Turmeric is a powerful weapon to prevent allergies. It contains the active ingredient curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that helps fight allergies. Plus, it works as a decongestant that can relieve many symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of hot milk and drink it once daily. You can also use turmeric in your cooking. Alternatively, take turmeric supplements after consulting a doctor.
Garlic is another anti-allergy superfood that you must include in your diet. Its ability to inhibit the activity of certain enzymes that generate inflammatory compounds in the body can help prevent allergic reactions.
Plus, the anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antioxidant and immune-boosting properties of garlic can help keep the doctor away during the allergy season.
Eat one to two crushed raw garlic cloves daily to combat allergies. You can also opt to take garlic supplements after consulting a doctor.
Lemons are an excellent immune-boosting fruit that can prevent allergies. It is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants. It also works as an antitoxin and helps keep your body alkaline.
Drink lemon water throughout the day to detoxify your body and get rid of toxins and impurities. Another option is to mix the juice of one lemon with olive oil to make a healthy dressing for salads and sandwiches.
Salmon is a cold-water fish high in omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. These fatty acids are very good inflammation fighters and thus help calm your allergies. Also, salmon can improve lung functioning, thus reducing the intensity of allergy symptoms like asthma, congestion and cold-like symptoms.
Eat a minimum of two portions of salmon every week throughout the year and increase to three portions during the allergy season. Along with salmon, you can include mackerel, trout, herring and sardines in your diet.
6. Green Tea
Allergy sufferers must add green tea to their diet to boost their immune system and prevent allergic reactions.
In a 2002 study, researchers at Kyushu University in Fukuok concluded that a compound known as methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea can block a key cell receptor involved in producing an allergic response. Green tea also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties.
Drink 2 cups of green tea daily. To make the tea more effective, add some honey and lemon to it.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have the most concentrated form of beta-carotene, along with potassium, manganese and vitamin B6 that help heal inflammation in the body.
Plus, they contain vitamin C that strengthens the immune system and decreases the production of histamine. They also have unique root proteins that contain antioxidant properties.
Eat 1/2 cup of boiled, grilled or roasted sweet potatoes on regular basis to improve your immune system and prevent allergies.
Loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, ginger is another powerful anti-allergy food. In fact, it works better than antihistamine drugs at stopping inflammation.
Plus, it can inhibit airway contraction and stimulate the secretion of mucus, which helps prevent and alleviate asthma symptoms.
Drink 2 cups of ginger tea daily. Also add a few slices of ginger root to your everyday foods and beverages for good health. If you want to take ginger supplements, consult your doctor first.
9. Collard Greens
Regular consumption of collard greens can also help prevent allergic reactions during the allergy season. This green vegetable contains phytochemicals called carotenoids, which are known for easing allergic reactions.
Plus, collard greens are a good source of vitamin C along with other important nutrients that help boost your immune system.
Buy the dark-colored collard greens, as they have high carotenoid levels. To fully reap the anti-allergy benefits, cook them lightly in a good quality fat source like olive oil.
Note: As collard greens have high vitamin K, people taking blood thinners should avoid eating them.
Flaxseeds, which contain selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, can help prevent allergic reactions. The fatty acids help prevent and alleviate allergies by reducing inflammatory chemicals in the body. Plus, it has selenium that helps the immune system work correctly and increases the action of antioxidants.
Add 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed to a glass of warm water or milk and drink it once daily. You can also sprinkle some ground flaxseed on cereal, salads, yogurt and other dishes.
Note: Generally, these are the best anti-allergy superfoods. However, if you are allergic to any of the foods mentioned here, avoid them.
- Keep a diary to figure out which allergens affect you.
- Limit outdoor exposure between 5 and 10 a.m. on warm, dry mornings. Pollen counts are the highest during this time.
- Wash your face and hands after being outside to remove pollen.
- Take a bath and wash your hair daily before going to bed.
- Minimize contact with pets and people who have spent a large amount of time outdoors.
- Wear sunglasses or a face mask to protect your eyes and face from pollen.
- Leave your shoes at the door to lessen the amount of pollen brought into the house.
- During the allergy season, keep windows and sunroofs closed.
- Change the filters in your furnace and air conditioner regularly.
- Use a humidifier to adjust your indoor humidity level.
- Avoid staying around in places having moderate temperature with low humidity.
- Avoid sitting outdoors around freshly cut grass during the allergy season.
- Dry your clothes in a clothes dryer rather than outside on a clothesline where pollen can come in contact with them.