What you eat can make a big difference to how you look, think and feel. This is also the case when it comes to allergies.
Every spring when flowers bloom, pollen is released into the atmosphere. Usually this is a slow and gradual process, but following a cold, harsh winter, this year it has been more sudden.
As a result we have been bombarded with high levels of pollen, and many will be facing a springtime of heavy sneezing, watery eyes and an itchy throat.
If you are sensitive to pollen and dreading a flare up of symptoms, we have a little guide to keep your allergies under control through your diet.
Here are five nutrients to give your immune system a much-needed boost:
Magnesium – According to Mitchell Gaynor – MD and clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYC’s Weill-Cornell Medical College – magnesium helps to “open up your airways”. It is also considered beneficial for reducing inflammation.
Gaynor recommends including more magnesium-rich foods in your diet, such as kale, spinach, avocado, flaxseed and sunflower seeds. Nuts are another great source, so stock up on almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews and pine nuts.
Probiotics – Your gut health is closely related to your immune system. As a result, foods that benefit your gut will also be of benefit to your sinuses. You may want to consider taking a probiotic supplement, but you can enjoy natural sources such as Greek yoghurt, miso soup, Kefir (a fermented dairy product) and pickles.
Vitamin C – Citrus fruits are highly recommended if you feel a cold coming on, but vitamin C can also be useful for alleviating allergy symptoms.
Dr Gaynor explains: “When you have allergies, histamine levels are high. The vitamin C in citrus like oranges, bell peppers, tomatoes and peas helps lower the release of histamine and breaks it down quicker.”
Bioflavonoids – Brussels Sprouts, garlic, green tea and mangoes are packed-full of healthy plant-based antioxidants that help to reduce the amount of histamine produced by the body.
Quercetin – According to Dr Gaynor, “this nutrient helps suppress the part of the immune system that causes allergies.” This is because it helps to reduce histamines. Quercetin is commonly found in apples (especially Granny Smith), as well as parsley, onions and sage.