Stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes, headache, fatigue and just some of the uncomfortable symptoms that cluster together to make you feel like you are constantly sick. It does not matter if you call it allergies, seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis, all that matters is finding a way to reduce the discomfort.
Our immune systems are fantastic at protecting our bodies, sometimes too good. Pollen, pet dander, dust and fungus are some of the culprits our immune systems want to defend us against. There are a variety of ways to manage these culprits; avoid them, take over the counter medications or supplements. Diet may also be an option, let’s take a look at what role diet plays in allergic rhinitis. (1)
This phytonutrient is known to reduce inflammation as well as have an anti-allergic affect because it decreases histamine release. Theoretically if it has these properties it may be helpful in reducing the immune response. Although studies confirming this are not abundant, some epidemiological and in-vitro studies confirm this theory. (2) Foods in the raw form that have a high content of quercetin: blueberries, broccoli, green chili peppers, kale, red onions, parsley, scallions, spinach, watercress and once brewed black and green tea are also sources of quercetin. (3)
Omega-3 fatty acids
These fatty acids are known to reduce chronic inflammation and theoretically they could also reduce the inflammation associated with allergies, some studies confirm this and then again, others do not. At this time more research is needed. (4) However, including more foods that provide omega-3 fatty acids cannot harm your health and provide overall benefits. Foods that offer the benefit of these healthful fatty acids are: cold water fish, canola oil, flax oil, walnuts, chia, flax and hemp seeds. (5)
Although it is true that our gut plays an integral role in our immune health and some studies report improvement in allergic symptoms with use of probiotics, and others’ do not, the evidence is mixed. (6) (7) More studies are needed to determine the type of bacteria, how much and if it is needed. However, eating yogurt, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut will not harm your health and do offer a variety of health benefits.
- Mlcek, J., Jurikova, T., Skrovankova, S., & Sochor, J. (2016, May 12). Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response. Retrieved July 05, 2017, from http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/21/5/623/htm
- Flavonoids. (2017, May 05). Retrieved July 05, 2017, from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/flavonoids
Hoff, S., Seiler, H., Heinrich, J., Kompauer, I., Nieters, A., Becker, N., . . . Linseisen, J. (2005, June 29). Allergic sensitisation and allergic rhinitis are associated with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet and in red blood cell membranes. Retrieved July 05, 2017, from https://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v59/n9/full/1602213a.html
- Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
- Dennis-Wall3, J. C., Culpepper3, T., Jr.3, C. N., Rowe3, C. C., Burns3, A. M., Rusch3, C. T., . . . Christman5, A. M. (2017, March 01). Probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2) improve rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life in individuals with seasonal allergies: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial . Retrieved July 05, 2017, from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/105/3/758.long
- Peng, Y., Li, A., Yu, L., & Qin, G. (n.d.). The role of probiotics in prevention and treatment for patients with allergic rhinitis: A systematic review. Retrieved July 05, 2017, from http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ocean/ajra/2015/00000029/00000004/art00017