Allergy season in Portland begins in the spring but often continues well into summer, shifting from tree pollen to ragweed and grass. If you are still experiencing the frustrating effects of seasonal allergies, here are some healthy foods you may want to incorporate into your diet for natural allergy relief. The key is to eat anti-inflammatory and immune-balancing foods, which can help you not just during allergy season but throughout the year.

1. Nuts

Most people are aware that tree nuts, such as walnuts and pecans, are an excellent source of protein, but did you know they are also chock-full of antioxidants and omega-3s? Both antioxidants and omega-3s are highly effective in combatting the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Most nuts also contain high levels of magnesium and vitamin E, both of which also help with allergies. Magnesium protects against inflammation in the throat that causes coughing, whereas vitamin E is an immunity booster.

2. Apples

An apple a day may keep seasonal allergies away! Apples have always been considered a healthy food, but they are especially helpful in battling allergy symptoms for several reasons. First, they contain quercetin, which is a chemical that reduces inflammation and is effective in treating asthma. Second, the peels contain many polyphenol antioxidants, which protect against cellular damage. In one research study, the children of women who consumed lots of apples during pregnancy have lower rates of asthma than their apple-deprived peers.

3. Fish

Just like nuts, fish contain high levels of omega-3s, which have anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. The oil in fish can also help with dry and irritated skin, as well as itchiness. If you are seafood-averse, an organic fish oil supplement may be a better option than trying to force-feed yourself fish.

4. Red Grapes

Fresh red grapes are another whole food that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. They contain an anti-inflammatory chemical called resveratrol. As an extra bonus, red grapes are also high in flavonoids that reduce bad cholesterol levels and the stress on your blood vessels. Just be sure to buy red grapes, as they have higher concentrations of allergy-relieving chemicals than their green brothers and sisters.

5. Tomatoes

As if we needed another reason to eat delicious garden tomatoes! Tomatoes are jam-packed with helpful chemicals that fight a variety of ailments and allergy symptoms. One is the high concentration of vitamin C that can offer relief from chronic sneezing as a result of inflammation in our sinuses. They also contain a natural antihistamine that reduces the swelling of blood vessels. Tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to reduce asthma attacks.

6. Broccoli, Kale and Collard Greens

Are you surprised? These super-green cousins are members of the same family – cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli is high in Vitamin C. Kale and collard greens are high in carotenoids, which help fight inflammation. Lightly sauté in olive oil to help increase absorption of carotenoids.

7. Local Raw Honey

This allergy remedy is not hard to take! Eating raw local honey works like taking allergy shots. It helps desensitize the immune system and mitigates allergic reactions over time. It contains very small amounts of local pollen antigens (allergens). Introducing these into the diet helps desensitize the person to that particular set of antigens, reducing the histamine response. The honey must be locally produced so that you are more likely to consume the specific antigens that cause your allergies. The honey must be raw and not pasteurized so that it still contains the living enzymes needed to help balance the immune system. Because there are so many different antigens in plant pollens, it is difficult to design a clinical experiment to test the efficacy of honey’s protective effects. However, the theory is correct, and many case studies and testimonials can be found on the benefits of raw, local honey for reducing allergies.

For more insight into natural allergy relief, as well as other helpful health and wellness tips, visit the Inner Works Acupuncture blog regularly. If you are ready to take control of your full-body health, contact our Portland clinic at (503) 227-2127 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Liz Zenger.