The summer is upon us and this is the time when most people who battle allergies can experience symptoms. For most people, hay fever and seasonal allergies occur when the trees, grass, and plants begin to produce pollen. The most common allergy symptoms include itchy eyes and throat, nasal congestion, discharge, and wheezing caused from upper respiratory irritation. While it can become very difficult to completely avoid being outside—after all, summer is not enjoyable staying indoors all the time—there are some nutritional ways to manage your symptoms. Here are the five best food and nutrients to help you get through this allergy season.
The addition of oily fish to your diet—like salmon, sardines, and mackerel—can decrease the inflammation in your mucus membranes. When you breathe in pollen, chemicals are released from your immune system, causing inflammation. In addition, your cells also secrete a substance called histamine which accounts for the itchiness and excessive mucous flow.
Omega-3 fats are effective at decreasing these inflammatory chemicals. I recommend eating two to three servings of oily fish per week or taking a daily supplement containing fish, seal, or krill oil. The recommended dosage is one gram, three times per day with food.
Vitamin C is considered an antioxidant vitamin, which is found in higher amounts in citrus, berries, fruits, and vegetables like bell peppers. Vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine which can help prevent the secretion of histamine from specialized cells which line the mucus membranes. This nutrient also has various anti-inflammatory properties because it can absorb free radicals which can irritate the linings of your upper respiratory tract.
I recommend that you consume more citrus foods, strawberries, red peppers, and tropical fruit such as mangos on a daily basis. Several servings per day of the above foods or a supplement containing 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C can be taken twice per day.
These important chemicals are found in various substances including green tea, grape skins or seeds, and pine bark. These chemicals are known to decrease the histamine response and work with vitamin C to decrease inflammation and swelling of mucus membranes. I recommend drinking two to four cups of green tea per day, or consuming supplements which contain 100 mg of a high potency grape seed extract three times per day.
This mineral is extremely important to include in this discussion because magnesium directly influences the upper airways by affecting the level of bronchial spasm. Magnesium affects the smooth muscle cells surrounding the bronchial tubes by causing relaxation which allows an improved degree of airflow. Foods which are high in magnesium include whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Supplements containing 300-400 mg of magnesium citrate can be taken two to three times per day to control wheezing during the allergy season.
I have previously reported about the effects which highly pigmented berries have on human health. Berries contain chemicals called anthocyanins which have potent effects upon the inflammation associated to allergies. Various berries like blueberries, bilberries, blackberries, and cranberries all have high levels of the anthocyanin chemicals which can absorb the free radicals generated during the inflammatory process and decrease the inflammatory response. My recommendation is to consume at least one cup of berries on a daily basis.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Magrone, T., et al., “Influence of polyphenols on allergic immune reactions: mechanisms of action,” Proc Nutr Soc. May 2012; 71(2): 316-21.
Kazaks, A.G., et al., “Effect of oral magnesium supplementation on measures of airway resistance and subjective assessment of asthma control and quality of life in men and women with mild to moderate asthma: a randomized placebo controlled trial,” J Asthma. February 2010; 47(1): 83-92.
Nyanhanda, T., et al., “Plant-Derived Foods For The Attenuation Of Allergic Airway Inflammation,” Curr Pharm Des. May 17, 2013 [Epub ahead of print]