Can nutrition choices help alleviate allergy symptoms?

Nutrition and allergies

While the warm weather has finally arrived in Kelowna, unfortunately, so has allergy season.

Allergies can already be tough to manage, but did you know stress can have an impact on your symptoms as well?

According to research, stress hormones can worsen allergy flare ups due to the already exaggerated immune system response. With the pandemic, stress has only been amplified, leaving many Canadians feeling more anxious than ever before.

Luckily, nutrition, in addition to over-the-counter allergy medications, can make a difference when it comes to relieving allergy symptoms.

Maintaining an optimal, anti-inflammatory diet is key to managing allergy symptoms. Although foods don’t have the power to cure allergies, they can give our bodies the nutrients needed to help our immune system fight off any persistent symptoms.

For allergy sufferers in our communities, I’m sharing some helpful tips on nutrition and allergy-fighting foods for this upcoming allergy season.

Not only will incorporating some of these vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients help with managing symptoms, but they’ll also be great for your overall health.

Quercetin – Quercetin acts as an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. Foods, such as berries, peppers, onions, apples, and green tea are high in this natural plant chemical and can help to relieve sneezing, tearing up, and itching caused by histamines.

Spices – Feeling congestion? Spices, such as ginger and turmeric, can help to relieve some of the most common unpleasant inflammatory allergy symptoms as spices can act as a natural decongestant. Turmeric especially can help to reduce allergy symptoms as it contains curcumin, an ingredient known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Vitamin C-rich foods – Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has been known to have antihistamine properties to help counteract the body’s inflammatory response to an allergic reaction. Incorporating more foods rich in Vitamin C can help to reduce symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and congestion caused by histamines. Great sources of Vitamin C include Brussel sprouts, broccoli, bell peppers, and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits.

Remember, making lifestyle or dietary changes can help to manage allergies, but your local pharmacist is always there to support you in allergy season. A pharmacist can help find the best treatment option for your specific allergy symptoms and provide over-the-counter medications for long-lasting relief if needed.

As a registered dietitian, I am also here to support you and can help you improve your overall wellness through personalized nutrition services.

To discuss your unique needs, book an appointment with me at yourindependentgrocer.ca/dietitians.

Zahra Tromsness is registered dietitian at Peter's Your Independent Grocer in Kelowna.

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