When pollen is flying through the air on a summer breeze, foods that reduce allergy symptoms can be a lifesaver. Eating specific compounds—such as the FoodTrients omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, gingerol, oleuropein, and quercitin, as well as probiotics—go a long way toward reducing the swelling of nasal passages and the production of antihistamines.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in large, deep-water fish, whole grains, and nuts. You can also take omega-3 supplements daily to help fight inflammation. Curcumin is an ingredient of the spice turmeric. I have a few recipes using turmeric if you need some ideas for how to use this spice most commonly found in curry powders.
Gingerol is an anti-inflammatory found in ginger. I love adding fresh, grated (peeled) ginger to stir-fries and chicken soup. Candied ginger is delicious when steeped in hot tea. Oleuropein (aka oleic acid), another anti-inflammatory, is found in olives and olive oil. Make a habit of sautéing vegetables in olive oil, adding it to soups, and drizzling it over salads to get your daily dose. Skin inflammation from bug bites or sunburns can be treated topically with olive oil or flaxseed oil. Aloe vera works wonders to fight skin redness and inflammation, too.
Probiotics fight allergies by providing bacteria helpful to the digestive tract. The digestive tract is a big part of our immune system. Probiotics occur naturally in yogurt and other fermented, unpasteurized foods, such as homemade pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi. You can also get them from kombucha drinks: naturally carbonated beverages with a zingy, somewhat sour flavor. Kombucha beverages might take some getting used to, but they can aid digestion and fight allergic inflammation.
The old adage about an apple a day is really true for allergy sufferers. Apples contain quercitin, which supports the immune system, reduces inflammation, and may reduce allergic sensitivity. Quercitin is found not only in apples (especially their skins), but also in chia seeds, onions, broccoli, citrus, and kale.
If you suffer from any food allergies or sensitivities, those can intensify your seasonal allergy symptoms. If you’re not sure, it’s best to avoid the most common food triggers (dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, wheat, spinach, and berries) as well as artificial food colorings and plants in the nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, tomatillos, chili peppers, bell peppers, tobacco, and wolfberries), at least until the pollen counts subside.
My Apple Barley Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing recipe has the power of quercitin and omega-3 fatty acids. My Pear and Apple Tart recipe (featured in my cookbook) not only has quercitin from the apples but also provides omega-3s from the pecans and anti-inflammatory power from cinnamon. A daily serving of yogurt should help, too (unless you’re allergic to milk). Try making a dish of whole-wheat pasta with onions, garlic, and broccoli sautéed in olive oil for allergic relief (unless you suffer from celiac disease, in which case you should use gluten-free pasta). My Whitefish with Turmeric recipe (also available in my cookbook) supplies you with omega-3 oils and curcumin. Both go a long way toward reducing allergic inflammation. What a tasty way to fight allergy symptoms!