Spring Flowers Bring on Allergy Powers
Spring, ahhh, beautiful weather, sun shining, grass growing, flowers blooming, rain drops falling gently … head congestion, itchy watery eyes, tiredness, sneezing, and runny, stuffy nose. It’s a beautiful time of year, and yet it can be one of the hardest times of year for those who suffer with seasonal allergies.
If this describes you, you know exactly what I am talking about. Did you know that nutrition can be a huge help to those suffering with allergy symptoms? Food is not only fuel for the day, it can be our medicine. So get well fueled to fight off those allergens as best you can. I have some firsthand experience with this as my husband and son deal with severe seasonal allergies.
Here are a few tips to getting the most out of what you eat to aid in allergy relief.
- Take out: I always like to start with what to add in when I discuss nutrition, but with allergies it is really vital to take out a few certain foods to see some relief from allergies. Dairy, gluten and sugars are well known inflammatory foods and taking these out of your diet would be a great start to decreasing allergy symptoms. Taking dairy milk out of my husband’s diet was a huge help to him. This one step alone really helped get a better handle on his allergies.
- Add in: Add some great anti-inflammatory foods mostly vegetables and fruits such as apples, peppers, dark cherries, blueberries, broccoli, leafy greens and cabbage. Did you know that we should be aiming for nine to 13 servings of vegetables and fruit a day? Most of those should come from vegetables. There is a campaign to eat five each day, but really we should be aiming much higher. These foods are packed full of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients that our body needs to fight off infections and just work to the best of its ability.
- Herbs: You could also add in some great anti-inflammatory herbs such as ginger, turmeric, black pepper, basil, cinnamon, garlic, parsley and rosemary. Try to eat these every day in a variety of ways. There are many recipes out there to help you be creative. Be brave and try new ways of cooking and preparing your meals.
- Organic: Certain foods are higher in chemicals/hormones and certain people can be more sensitive to this. If you aren’t able to go fully organic, a great place to start is with what’s called “The dirty dozen” and the “Clean 15.”
The Dirty Dozen list singles out produce with the highest loads of pesticide residues, and it includes strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes.
The Clean 15 are least likely to contain pesticide residues, and those are sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwis, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit.
If you deal with severe allergy symptoms you may need multiple therapies to find relief. Nutrition is a great start and base to a healthy spring season!