Dr. Catherine Nutting, Family Nurse Practitioner, Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine
When exposed to potential allergens such as trees, grass, or flowers, our bodies sometimes respond to these irritants by releasing histamine, which in turn may cause swelling, watery eyes, and runny nose in those susceptible. Your family’s food choices can have a big impact on how well you fair the allergy season.
Foods to Avoid
If bothered by these allergies, be sure to avoid foods high in histamine – such as alcohol, pickles, salami, chickpeas, peanuts, soybeans, shellfish, nuts, chocolate, salty and sweet snacks, preservatives, artificial colorings, and vinegar – as these may make histamine induced symptoms worse.
Foods that May Help
Foods with antihistamine properties, such as a red pepper (which also have three times the amount of vitamin C than an orange, and with less sugar), seem to have histamine-blocking effects on the neuron receptors. Foods high in omega-3, such as fish and flaxseed, may help as well due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Foods high in quercetin and pycnogenol – such as broccoli, oranges, berries, onions, garlic, and apples – appear to help to block the release of histamine by our cells. Pineapple, which is very high in an enzyme called bromelain, is also a antihistamine found in nature.
Some foods may actually cause a cross reactivity to pollens. If you know your specific seasonal allergen use the OAS Guide to limit cross reactive foods seasonally.
When pollen counts are up, why not stamp out spring time allergies with a allergy blasting smoothie? Take advantage of fresh, local, organic fruits and veggies at local markets. In the Tampa Bay area, use the Local Spring Market Guide to find some of the best markets in town.
Allergy Blasting Smoothie
1 cup pineapple
1/2 cup mango
1 scoop protein powder
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup ice
3 cups spinach
1 tsp local wildflower honey
– – – – –
Low Oxalate Allergy Blasting Smoothie
2 large apples
1 handful of broccoli
1 handful watercress
2 handfuls romaine lettuce
pinch of ginger
1 level teaspoon spirulina
2 handfuls arugula
½ cup ice
¾ cup filtered water
Supplement and Herbal Remedies
Try taking quercetin (which stabilizes mast cells) 500 mg twice a day a few weeks before allergy season with vitamin C. You may also want to try Butterbur 50 – 75 mg twice daily, which has been shown to block the production of leukotrienes, which trigger allergic responses. Stinging nettle, besides having antihistamine and anti-inflammatory qualities, also has diuretic qualities. If your allergy symptoms include secretions or a productive cough, n-acetylcysteine (NAC) may help thin mucous and have expectorant effects. There is a professional supplement product called D-Hist which contains these ingredients. We recommend you discuss with your medical provider if this is a good option for you.
Other Natural Ways to Fight Allergy Symptoms:
- Keep windows closed
- Wash pollen off clothes and sheets often
- Use air filters
- Heal intestinal hyperpermeability issues