Allergies affect millions of people. In Atlanta, we see people with allergies all year round, but the worst time of year is the spring because of the pollen. The whole city is covered in a blanket of yellow pollen. The common symptoms I see with my patients are watery eyes, trouble breathing, and a pesky runny nose. Many allergy sufferers forget that you can eat to help beat spring allergies. Hooray for using food as medicine! The key is to start early.
Below you is my Spring Allergy prevention plan:
- Ditch the sugar. Allergies are a result of an immune system in overdrive. Managing this immune system dysfunction means keeping gut bacteria balanced and intestinal yeast, like Candida, in control. Start removing sugar from your diet now to boost your immune system and lower your allergic response. Aim to keep your sugar consumption under 40 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. You will be surprised at how fast added sugar adds up!
- Lower your dairy consumption. Dairy can thicken mucus and congestion, making allergy symptoms worse and worsening Candida (yeast overgrowth in the body). Lower your dairy consumption to just a few servings per day and try healthier versions of dairy like yogurt, kefir, farmer’s cheese or paneer. Whenever possible, buy full-fat, organic, dairy products.
- Eat apples. Apples contain quercetin, a chemical with anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties. Quercetin has also been shown to lower amounts of interleukin 6, an inflammatory cytokine that causes the immune dysfunction responsible for allergies. Granny Smith and Fuji apples are my favorite kind of apples. I love the crunch factor and so do my kids (plus Granny Smith tend to be less sweet)! Sometimes, I cut them up and sprinkle cinnamon and cardamom on top for added flavor.
- Eat garlic. Garlic contains a compound (allium satvum) that helps to minimize the allergic response while boosting immune function. Try my Warm Greens Sauté recipe topped with raw, chopped, garlic. Yum!
- Eat fatty fish. Salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies are fatty fishes with high levels of omega 3 fats, another important ingredient in the allergy equation. Omega 3 fats play a key role in managing both inflammation and the immune response, helping to lower histamine levels. Adding 2-3 servings per week of any of these fatty fishes weekly can help prevent allergies. I like to add a small amount of tuna or sardines to my salad at lunch.