Foods that Prevent Allergies

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I found this article today and thought it might help some of you. It’s always good to know some home care and preventive remedies.

 

Taking an antihistamine isn’t the only way to battle fall allergies. If seasonal sneezes — not to mention a runny nose, watery eyes and congestion — are making you miserable, there are some foods that might ease your pain.

Just know that none of these noshes replace traditional allergy treatments. “[They] have anti-allergic properties … [but] none of these can be used in place of medications in patients who have severe allergies,” Talal M. Nsouli, M.D., a clinical professor of pediatrics and allergy-immunology at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, told weather.com.

But certain foods can help, which can be key for your health.

Fatty Fish
DHA and EPA, two types of healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish and other sources, have been known to ease allergy symptoms. “If we eat foods that contains these omega-3 fatty acids, the EPA and the DHA, [there’s] an anti-allergic property [and] decreasing of the allergic reaction … to a certain extent,” Dr. Nsouli said.

Eating your omega-3s — as opposed to taking a supplement — is the best way to go about it, as numerous studies have shown that the health benefits of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats are most effective — or even only effective — in food form.

Mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, bluefish and herring are all great sources of omega-3s, Dr. Nsouli said. “However, one has to be careful because it has been shown that fish may contain mercury,” he said. For that reason, reach for fish that’s wild, not farmed, whenever possible, he suggested, in line with studies from the early 2000s that found higher levels of toxins in farmed U.S. fish than wild. (Although now, the scientific consensus is the health benefits of fish outweigh any potential risks.)

Plant sources of omega-3
Walnuts and Flaxseeds
Certain tree nuts, such as walnuts and flaxseeds, also contain omega-3 fatty acids; however, plants contain the ALA chain, which simply facilitates the production of EPA and DHA in your body. “One can eat one handful of walnuts, for example, this could be [equal to] about 3 to 3.5 ounces of salmon,” Dr. Nsouli said. (Although, in a perfect world, you’d eat both fish and tree nuts twice a week or so.)
Flaxseeds also contain selenium, a mineral that can help reduce an allergic response

An essential antioxidant
Broccoli, Cabbage and More
Quercetin, a flavonoid found in some foods, is believed to help reduce the inflammation associated with allergies. The thought is that it prevents immune cells from releasing histamines, or an allergic response.

Apples, onions, berries, cabbage, cauliflower and tea all contain quercetin

Fruits to reach for
Oranges, Peppers and Strawberries
Vitamin C is thought to help control allergy symptoms; like omega-3s, it’s best to get your C from foods, not supplements. Oranges, red peppers and strawberries are some of the fresh fruits best known for their vitamin C content. It’s also in broccoli and other foods that contain quercetin.

“Taking a vitamin tablets might not be as effective as having one or two oranges [or other vitamin C-containing foods] per day,”

“Having the vitamins in the foods that you eat is much more effective than saying, ‘OK, I’m going to take a multivitamin, end of story.’ It’s very important to focus on the foods that are fresh.”

Garlic
Recently, a study — the most rigorous to date — demonstrated that garlic extract can help decrease an allergic reaction and can help prevent allergy by blocking the production of the chemicals that cause allergic reactions, Dr. Nsouli said.
Any recommendation for how much garlic to eat for allergies is at this point an educated guess, but Dr. Nsouli said two to three times a week might be enough to help. Garlic supplements are also available, but as with other foods, the health benefits are best when the plant is eaten directly

Yogurt
Some research has found that the probiotics, or bacteria, contained in yogurt reduce allergic reactions to pollen, helping the symptoms of allergic reactions in children Dr. Hakimi said it’s because these probiotics help decrease the body’s immune response to allergens, reducing inflammation in the body. Digestive enzymes can also help, he said.
But some individuals have reported issues with allergies and dairy products. If you think dairy might be a problem, try an “elimination challenge” test. Go off all dairy products for two weeks to see how you feel, then add in two or three portions of dairy a day for two weeks, and compare how you feel. During this process, it’s also important to check in with an allergist to confirm what’s bothering you, and explore other treatment plans.

Another spice
Turmeric,
A native Indian spice found in curry and other dishes, is known to have a powerful anti-inflammatory response. You can spice your food with this brightly colored powder, or take supplements — it just depends on what works with your lifestyle.

An essential mineral
Magnesium
Foods rich in magnesium are believed to help control allergies. But it also opens up and relaxes the muscles, which can be beneficial as well.
High-magnesium foods include cashew nuts, wheat bran and kelp.

 

Thanks for reading. I hope it helps.

 

Emma McKenzie, L.Ac.

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