Environmental allergies continue to climb as more and more patients are diagnosed each year. Regardless of age, race, or gender, allergies have flourished into an expected part of life. In fact with the rapid climb in diagnosis allergies could quickly become the norm and “symptom free” a thing of the past. But with these growing numbers more people are seeking an effective approach to treatment and prevention. For many that relief is being found with simple changes to their diet.
For some cultures managing allergies with diet is a natural part of life. For example study looked at the natural Mediterranean diet and the prevalence of allergies among islanders that lived by it. The diet consists of high antioxidants, which protect cells from oxidative damage that cause disease as well as boosts the immune system. The study’s focus was on the antioxidants and their role in allergic symptoms. Researchers found that islanders who stuck to the diet in fact had fewer allergies.
This isn’t the only study that looked at food and the body’s allergic reaction. Other studies have evaluated vitamins and minerals, dairy and even natural bacteria in the body and their role in the allergic response. Each study found similar results; participants who consumed the appropriate foods consistently reported fewer symptomatic episodes. Foods natural ability to treat allergies is a direct result of the body’s natural immune response.
How Foods Naturally Combat Allergies
An allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts and fails to eradicate an allergen for the bloodstream. Rather it over produces antibodies that cause cells within the immune system to burst and release histamines. In a perfect chain reaction the histamines spread through the bloodstream leading to inflammation and the classic symptoms of sneezing, itchy throat and watery eyes. Hence consuming foods that naturally support the immune system brings effective relief.
The key nutrients for beating your symptoms include:
- Magnesium – helps with lung function and protects against wheezing
- Vitamins C and E – immune boosters that protect against free radicals that can trigger the allergic response
- Resveratrol – antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the body
- Flavonoids – reduces inflammation that leads to sinus congestion and pain
- Omega 3 fatty acids – reduces formation of inflammatory chemicals
- Appropriate balance of good and bad bacteria – minimizes risk of a hypersensitive immune system
- Water – plenty of water helps the body thoroughly flush allergens and the resulting histamines from your system
Supplementing Your Diet with the Right Foods
Everybody knows what a food pyramid is and the importance of eating a balanced diet including proteins, dairy, fruits, vegetables and starches. For allergy sufferers our selection goes beyond the basic food groups to include the right foods within each category.
When selecting fruits be sure to include daily portions of grapes for resveratrol, apples, oranges and tomatoes for vitamin C, and bananas for flavonoids. Part of your dairy intake should include yogurt to help balance the good and bad bacteria in your system. The vegetable tray should include a variety of artichokes, spinach, and black eyed peas for magnesium. Proteins offer up a larger selection to consume those much needed fatty acids. You can choose from several popular fish entrees including salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring and sardines.
Your daily intake ideally should include each of these select foods as you incorporate them into your serving portions. When you head out to the store with your shopping list in hand be sure to include these foods on your list to naturally enjoy allergy and sinus relief. Building your defense against allergies will continue in part 3 as we talk about environmental controls that really work.