Ahh-choo! Natural Remedies for Springtime Allergies

bee on echinacea


When layers of yellow cover your car, the street and sidewalks, you know allergy season is here. In an ideal world avoiding the allergens completely is the best solution for minimizing allergy symptoms. However, now that the weather is finally warmer, it’s tough to stay indoors all day long. Last year we mentioned foods high in querectin, probiotics and green tea (as well as liquids in general to help thin mucous) as potential options that may help minimize some of your allergy symptoms. And this year we are adding a few more natural remedies to our anti– allergy arsenal.


Vitamin C Rich Foods


Vitamin C is an antioxidant necessary for healthy skin (the largest organ in the body and your first line of defense against bacteria and pathogens), wound healing, the absorption of plant-based iron, immune health and many other functions. In addition, some research studies suggest that vitamin C may decrease airway constriction due to allergic reactions. There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that vitamin C supplements are warranted however, be sure to eat enough vitamin C rich foods. Bell peppers, oranges, kiwi fruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and baked potatoes are all excellent sources of vitamin C.


Nasal Rinses


Over-the-counter nasal rinsing products that contain sterile saline help moisten nasal passages and also clear out allergens and debris. If you’re using in a device at home with tap water make sure you follow the FDA instructions for safety to ensure that you do not get sick from your nasal rinse.


Choose Your Fruits and Vegetables Wisely


If you know you’re allergic to certain environmental allergies you may also have an allergic reaction specific raw fruits, vegetables and nuts that have proteins similar to those in pollen.  When the immune system reacts to these proteins you have oral allergy syndrome. Symptoms are typically isolated to the face and mouth and may include itching or swelling in the mouth, face, lips, tongue and throat after the consumption of certain raw fruits, vegetables, or nuts. Here are the common environmental pollen and potential cross-reactions with fruits vegetables:


Birch pollen: apples, almonds, hazelnuts, celery, cherry, hazelnut, cherries, kiwi, peach, pear, plums, coriander, fennel, parsley, carrots.


Grass pollen: celery, melons, oranges, peaches, tomatoes.


Ragweed pollen: bananas, cucumbers, melons, tomato, sunflower seeds or zucchini.  Chamomile tea and Echinacea may also cause a problem in some people.


You don’t need to give up any of these fruits or vegetables completely. Instead, just cook them or consume them in processed form such as canned fruits and vegetables.


Be Aware of Exercise and Food Interactions


If you find that you get itchy, feel lightheaded, develop hives or have an anaphylactic reaction during or after exercise, take a close look at what you ate beforehand. Some individuals develop an allergic reaction to foods after exercise. Common culprits include crustacean shellfish, alcohol, tomatoes, cheese, and celery.


Allergies can be a nuisance and tricky to manage. However, if you avoid the environmental allergen is much as possible, take a shower and wash your hair and wash the clothes that you were wearing when outside while also avoiding eating any raw foods that could also cause a reaction, you may get through the allergy season a little bit easier this year.