Allergies are defined as a damaging immune system response to a substance with which it has become hypersensitive. Hives, hay fever, asthma, eczema and stuffy noses can be mild or dangerous depending on the individual.
Eating certain foods can help prepare the body for allergy season and reduce reactions to allergens.
Histamine is responsible for the inflammatory response to an allergen. Foods high in vitamins C and E, folate, quercetin and omega-3 fatty acids halt the release of histamines in the body. Stopping the reaction provides allergy relief from typical symptoms.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in flax-seed, walnuts and cold water fishes such as salmon. The Pacific and Atlantic salmon both contain high amounts in omega-3, protein and vitamin D.
Flax is a fiber and food crop which grows well in cooler climates. Brown and yellow or golden flax seeds are commercially available. Each variety hosts a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and fat. Flax seeds may be roasted, boiled or ground into flour. The seeds contain a minor amount of folate and vitamin C.
Folate, or vitamin B9, can be found in beans and leafy, dark vegetables. Lentils and soybeans also have marginal amounts of vitamin C. They are an excellent source of protein and are very low in cholesterol.
Kale is another food which is high in folate and low in cholesterol. Kale provides a high amount of vitamin C. Other leafy greens which share similar benefits are spinach, chard and broccoli. Asparagus is another excellent source of folate and vitamins E and C.
L-ascorbic acid, more commonly known as vitamin C, improves immune system cells, acts as an antihistamine, an antioxidant and acts as an electron donor for enzymes. A majority of foods and drinks are fortified with vitamin C. Unfortunately any excess vitamin C in the body is just flushed out after being processed by the kidneys. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for healthy adult men and woman is about 80 milligrams.
A large quantity of Vitamin C is present within citrus fruits, red and green peppers, apples and kiwi fruit. Vitamin C is a common nutrient that can be found is a large number of foods hence supplementation should not be necessary.
Laboratory studies have shown that quercetin may prohibit immune cells from expelling histamines. Pollinosis, or hay fever, is an inflammatory reaction to pollen with the nasal and ocular cavities. Quercetin was found to reduce pressure in ocular cavities and to reduce inflammation which will provide allergy relief.
Quercetin is a flavonal which may be found in fruits, vegetables, leaves and grains. Apples are particularly high in quercetin as are onions and garlic. Parsley, tomatoes, legumes, berries, grapes and wine are just a few examples of the broad number of foods that contain flavanoids.
No single food can prevent allergies entirely. Prepare for the allergy season with a diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy grains. Health Canada recommends 8 to 10 servings of fruits a day.
Paul Chai is a health & wellness enthusiast writer with interests around seasonal allergies and allergy relief.