By Dominique Andrews for Life & Beauty Weekly


If you’re among the millions of people who suffer from allergies, you know that relieving symptoms can be tricky and frustrating. You may think you’ve looked everywhere for relief, but have you tried your refrigerator?

An allergy is your body’s reaction to something you’ve eaten, touched or inhaled that it doesn’t like. To protect you, your immune system releases chemicals called histamines. The trouble is, these substances cause inflammation and lead to the coughing, sneezing and itchy eyes that can annoy you for days or weeks. Fortunately, eating the right foods can help you put up a good fight naturally.

“A person suffering from allergies can also experience gas, bloating, diarrhoea, sinus congestion, headaches and eczema,” says Nancy Metcalf, a registered holistic allergist and nutritionist at Nutrition & Allergy Solutions in Bowmanville, Ontario. “Raw foods have enzymes that help with digestion and inflammation, which is part of the allergic response,” Metcalf says. Try these heavy hitters to help you eat your way to allergy relief:

Yogurt regulates your immune system and keeps it stress-free. It contains probiotics (good bacteria), which “are important to help balance the gut flora and to help digestion,” says Metcalf. Studies show that probiotics have the potential to alleviate allergy symptoms such as eczema. Have a cup of fat-free or low-fat yogurt in the morning. If you can’t tolerate dairy products, Metcalf says you can get the same benefits from foods such as kefir, since the fermentation process pre-digests the proteins. Probiotics can also be found in a supplement form.

Sweet Bell Peppers
Vitamin C plays a crucial role in stimulating the immune system. It can also help reduce inflammation and lower the production of histamine, which causes allergy symptoms like watery eyes. But you don’t need to head for the fruit stand if you want to up your intake of this allergy-fighting vitamin — pick peppers instead. Red and yellow varieties contain more than twice as much of the antioxidant as oranges and strawberries. For an easy way to incorporate these in your diet, try putting some pepper halves on the grill at your next barbecue.

Omega-3 fatty acids are widely known for improving heart health, and Metcalf says that because omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties, they’re also an important nutrient for the skin and can help with conditions like eczema. Studies have shown that increased intake of omega-3s reduces rates of hay fever. Salmon is an excellent source of the essential acid. It’s also one of the best sources of vitamin D, which, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, can help lessen allergy symptoms, Metcalf says. One study even linked the onset of allergies in children to low vitamin D levels.

Popeye had the right idea: Spinach is an allergy-fighting powerhouse. It contains a special combination of antioxidants, such as quercetin, that boost its anti-inflammatory value to unique levels. It also has high levels of zinc, which has been shown in studies to help combat allergies as well as asthma. Plus, it’s a good vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids. Try a spinach salad with peppers for lunch.

Indulge in luscious cherries this summer: Plant pigments called anthocyanins are what give cherries their deep red colour, and they can also give you relief. A study in The Journal of Nutrition found that eating cherries daily may significantly reduce inflammation, which in turn can reduce allergy-related pain and discomfort. If you can’t find fresh cherries, look for frozen or dried varieties, or try cherry juice.

Dominique Andrews
is a freelance writer and television producer who writes on food and lifestyle topics for such magazines as
ReadyMade. She is a former food editor at
Ladies’ Home Journal. Andrews’ television productions include the cooking show
“Emeril Green.”
She is a frequent contributor to
Life & Beauty Weekly.

Loading Facebook Comments ...