Foods to Help You Fight Seasonal Allergies

7 Foods to Help You Fight Seasonal Allergies

Publish Date February 21, 2024 3 Minute Read

We are all aware that consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial for overall health, but did you know it can also protect you from allergy symptoms or ease them if they have already occurred? Let’s discuss some key foods that may help fight seasonal allergies.

Allergies and Nutrition

Research shows us that certain foods can help fight seasonal allergies by controlling inflammation. Inflammation is a natural process that helps the body heal and defend itself from harmful things such as an infection, illness, or injury. However, allergies are a result of the body’s immune system overreacting to a substance that is not harmful to the body. Seasonal allergic reactions can be caused by common allergens such as pollen and ragweed. This immune response causes increased inflammation through the release of a chemical called histamine.

Now, nutrients we consume can help support a healthy immune system response, giving us some relief from symptoms. Some nutrients help act as a natural antihistamine, inflammation modulator, or even regulating gene expression. To ensure you get this wide variety of nutrients and their benefits, following a Mediterranean or DASH Diet sets you up for success.

Foods to Help Fight Seasonal Allergies

1. Citrus Fruits – Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) serves many functions in the body, including collagen production, energy metabolism, and immune health. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that prevents oxidative stress in the body and acts as a natural antihistamine. Consuming an adequate amount of Vitamin C from citrus fruits such as grapefruits, oranges, lemons, and kiwis can also help fight infections.

2. Tomatoes – In addition to Vitamin C, tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, an antioxidant compound that decreases the allergic response of eosinophils, a type of cell that perpetuates uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Lycopene, also known as a carotenoid, gives tomatoes its vibrant red color.

3. Omega-3 Rich Foods – Studies show that fatty acids, specifically DHA omega-3, have natural anti-inflammatory effects which help to support the immune system. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend individuals consume 3-4 ounces of fish at least two times each week. Examples of omega-3 rich food sources include salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, and trout. Those following a vegan lifestyle can ensure adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids by consuming a marine algae supplement.

4. Yogurt & Fermented Foods – Yogurt and other fermented products such as kefir, tempeh and kombucha are bountiful in healthy bacteria known as probiotics. Probiotics thrive within our gastrointestinal tract to support a myriad of physiological functions. Gut health has gained a lot of attention thanks to new discoveries on its impact of health outcomes. Research shows us probiotics may directly play a role in regulating genes and proteins that impact the immune system. Additionally, probiotics may also play an indirect role in immune health by generating short-chain fatty acids in the gut which promote immune health and intestinal integrity.

5. Onions – Onions are a major source of quercetin, an antioxidant that can also act as an antihistamine, reducing symptoms of seasonal allergies. It’s recommended that the onions are consumed raw, as cooking reduces the total amount of quercetin. If onions aren’t your thing, other foods with this compound include broccoli, apples (the skin), berries, and grapes.

6. Herbs and Spices – Turmeric and ginger are both natural remedies for several health conditions that have been used for thousands of years in traditional Eastern culture. Ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemical compounds that benefit your health. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, is a phytochemical with anti-allergenic properties. Don’t forget to add a dash of black pepper, which helps activate the curcumin! Get more of these power-houses by blending them into smoothies and soups, topping them on avocado toast, or making a ginger-turmeric mimosa or golden milk latte.

7. Eggs – Egg yolks contain a host of important nutrients and vitamins, one of which being vitamin D. Early-life vitamin D deficiency may impair immune system development contributing to allergy and asthma onset. This is due to vitamin D having a major role in regulating the mechanisms that control the inflammatory response. For our vegan friends, opting for mushrooms can be a plant-based source of incorporating vitamin D into your diet.

Next time you’re at the store, stock up on some of these foods to naturally curb your allergy symptoms. Need more? Allergy shots can be used to help manage symptoms triggered by seasonal allergies. And The Little Clinic makes it convenient! With written approval from your allergist, you can receive allergy shots at Kroger’s Little Clinic. For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit the vaccinations page. And for more help on how to use food as medicine, schedule a virtual appointment with a Kroger Health registered dietitian.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and is not meant to provide healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Recipes with Seasonal Allergy Fighting Ingredients

Try incorporating seasonal allergy fighting foods into your diet with these delicious recipes!