With all the warmer weather, raindrops and sunshine that come with spring, the new season also means allergies are back. Instead of letting pollen and hay fever get the best of you this year, fight back with food!
Turns out that what you eat can also impact the way your body reacts to potent allergens. So for those who want to spend their spring outdoors throwing the ball around and walking the dog instead of staying home with a runny nose and itchy eyes, here's a list of foods and meals that can help ease your allergy symptoms.
Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day, but it can also be your first line of defense against allergies. Start your day off right with a hot beverage, fresh fruit and some old fashioned vitamin D. Some steamy green tea can help relieve any congestion problems in the morning, and get rid of any excess mucus that promotes wheezing and coughing.
It is no secret that an apple a day can keep the doctor away, but the vitamin C and antioxidants found in your average apple, orange or strawberries can do wonders for easing allergy symptoms. Try a little yogurt on the side too, which contains Lactobacillus casei, a probiotic that helps balance bacteria levels in your stomach, so your immune system won't overreact to allergens.
Anything that has plenty of vitamin D is a great choice for a first meal of the day. Vitamin D absorbs calcium and phosphorus, which help boost immune health and absorb essential nutrients the body needs to fight back against allergens. A breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, fortified yogurt and a bowl of whole grain cereal will not only load you up with vitamin D, but also contains omega-3 fatty acids that are known to reduce asthma symptoms.
When the sun is at its highest is also when allergies are at their peak. One of the biggest allies against allergies is the flavonoid quercetin, which possess an anti-inflammatory compound that is proven to help reduce allergy symptoms. Quercetin is found in broccoli, cranberries, sweet potatoes, onions and is especially abundant in capers, which are little green pea-sized flower buds normally found in Mediterranean cuisine.
Adding a few slices of onions or tomatoes to a sandwich or salad can give you a healthy boost of quercetin. For a quick and portable meal, try making a vegetarian quesadilla using vegetables high in quercetin, as well as bell peppers, which are loaded with vitamin C while packing a spice that can help loosen up nasal congestion.
Of course, there is nothing that warms the soul and soothes a scratchy throat like a bowl of hot soup. Besides aiding your immune system in processing digestion, a steamy serving of chicken noodle or tomato soup can also reduce inflammation, stimulate blood circulation as well as replenish your body with the essential minerals necessary to get through a day of wheezing and sneezing.
After a hard day's work, allergies are the last thing you want to have to deal with. Help the side effects go away with a hearty dinner that's packed with therapeutic properties perfect for an ideal slumber. Fish are your friend when it comes to allergies due to their remedial qualities, and serving up an entree of shrimp stir fry topped with a few pinches of ginger can help get rid of throat and nose congestion as well as offer more omega-3 fatty acids to improve inflammatory conditions.
Spicy foods can also provide ways to help clear nasal passages, so whipping up some spicy chicken enchiladas with a little cayenne pepper might be what your airways need for some mucus-thinning benefits.
Garnishing your food with sides of kale or collard greens is also a great way to add some carotenoids to your system, which are organic pigments that work as antioxidants to increase immune health and improve cell communication so blood cells can work together to ward off unwanted allergens.
Following a steady diet of any number of these combinations can provide your body with what you need for a healthier, more enjoyable spring season. To recap, here are specific foods that have the most anti-allergen properties:
Kale or collard greens
If you ever run out of meal ideas, you can always reach for a Naturade Pea Protein Powder that is loaded with essential amino acids proven to boost immune strength. It is also 100 percent cholesterol free and vegan friendly.