Foods to Eat and Avoid to Get Through Allergy Season

The other day I went to call in and book a food allergy appointment for my daughter and most doctors were completely booked a couple months out because it’s that time of year again, people. As much as we absolutely love when spring comes, sometimes our bodies don’t like it as much with all the new allergens in the air. If you happen to be trying to get a doctor’s apointment your self and are having the same problem, there are a few foods you can be eating in the meantime to help relieve or prevent more symptoms of these allergies.

Here are some foods to incorporate into your diet to ease symptoms:

1. Onions, peppers, berries, and parsley all have quercetin, which is a natural plant chemical. According to researchers, this chemical may reduce “histamine reactions.”  Histamines are part of the allergic response.

2. Kiwi is a fuzzy fruit rich in vitamin C. It can also cut down on histamines. You can get Vitamin C from lots of foods, including oranges and other citrus fruit.

3. Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain. According to some doctors, bromelain can reduce irritation in allergic diseases such as asthma.

4. Tuna, salmon, and mackerel have Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 can help reduce inflammation. Go for two servings of fish every week. A study from Japan found that women who ate more fish had lower levels of hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis.

5. Kefir is a yogurt drink that contains probiotics. These are good-for-you bacteria that live in your gut. Rosen says they may help prevent and even treat seasonal allergies. You can get probiotics in fermented foods. Look for yogurts that say “live active cultures” on the label. Sauerkraut and kimchi are also good sources. 

6. Local Honey. The research is mixed on whether local honey helps you head off allergies. If you take small doses of the honey early in the season you may develop a tolerance toward pollen in your area. One study found that people who ate birch pollen honey had fewer symptoms of birch pollen allergy than those who ate regular honey. It’s not a sure thing, but see if it works for you.

Foods to Avoid:

Raw fruits and vegetables. Some pollens have proteins that are very similar to those in everyday fruits and vegetables, and your body can mistake the two. If you're allergic to ragweed, for example, you might also have symptoms after eating cantaloupe or watermelon.

Sometimes allergy triggers might catch you by surprise. Birch and hazelnut have similar proteins, so people with a birch allergy may get symptoms after drinking a cup of hazelnut coffee in the morning.

Before you redo your grocery list, know that cooking fruits and veggies often destroys these proteins. That lowers your chance of a reaction.

Spicy food. Spices can trigger the release of histamine. That's the chemical that causes swelling and stuffiness in your nasal passages.

Alcohol. For some people, a glass of alcohol causes swelling and stuffiness in their nose. If you're already congested, that could make your symptoms worse.


    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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