I love spring! Unfortunately, for some people spring means the return of bothersome seasonal allergies. In this post I want to look at seasonal allergies from a different angle: Your diet. I realize that may sound strange but since all disease begins in the gut –and the gut is where you digest and absorb food –it makes sense to consider nutrition when your body is out of balance.

Many people assume that because their seasonal allergy symptoms are caused by airborne allergens, food is not a problem. Actually most hay fever sufferers also have food sensitivities that are aggravating their condition. It’s likely that the immune system is weakened from dealing with food allergens and is less able to cope with the addition of pollen or mold in the air, or it’s some kind of cross-reaction. Hay fever suffers may develop cross-reactions involving pollen, wheat and milk. These are the three most common substances reacted to, which are all originally grass products.

Diet appears to plays a very important role in the management of hay fever. The idea is to reduce foods that encourage mucus production, while boosting foods that have natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties (e.g. large amounts of vitamin C are useful as a natural anti-histamine).

To quell allergies I recommend increasing foods with anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties (as long as they are well-tolerated). Replace grains (especially gluten) with green leafy vegetables and focus on other fresh plant foods such as berries, mangoes, apples, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, onions, and walnuts. Green tea and wild salmon are two more of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods. Certain supplements can ease allergy symptoms and improve digestion naturally. Contact me for specifics.

Anti-histamine drugs may not be the answer. A 2010 Yale study found that people who took antihistamines regularly were heavier than people who did not take them at all. It’s not clear whether antihistamines cause weight gain or if weight gain predisposes people to allergies. Whatever the mechanism might be, a natural approach is usually your best bet.

Until next time, make every bite count!