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Do You Suffer From Seasonal Allergies? Fruits And Vegetables Can Help!

Spring has sprung!  With this seasonal change, the flowers, trees, and grasses welcome the warmer weather, as do many people!  Unfortunately for individuals with seasonal allergies, the increase in pollen this time of year can bring with it unpleasant symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, congestion and itchy eyes. These symptoms present when one’s immune system releases histamine in response to pollen (or other allergens). 

While seasonal allergy medications are common, they are not without side-effects.  Antihistamines commonly cause drowsiness and even impairment. Some allergy medicines cause dryness in the mouth, throat and eyes, leading to discomfort and a need to relieve these symptoms with additional remedies.  It’s also important to note that some seasonal allergy medications, many of which are over-the-counter, can interact with other medications.  Additionally, some decongestants can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, which can be a concern for those with existing cardiovascular conditions.  As always, be sure to check in with your trusted healthcare practitioner to determine a seasonal allergy plan that is right for you.  

The good news is that there are natural ways to help find relief from seasonal allergies.  Did you know that fruits and vegetables can help support your immune system, and in turn provide a natural defense against seasonal allergies?

Vegetables and fruits offer an array of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can support your body against seasonal allergies.  

-Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and strawberries, has anti-inflammatory properties which can help lessen the symptoms of seasonal allergies. 

-Vitamin E, found in avocado, spinach and broccoli, has antioxidant properties which help to protect the body from inflammation caused by seasonal allergies. 

-Betacarotene, which converts in the body to Vitamin A, is found in sweet potatoes, carrots, and leafy greens; it helps to support the immune system. 

-Quercetin, a flavonoid (a specific type of antioxidant), acts as a natural antihistamine. Found in apples, broccoli, berries, onions, and citrus fruits, quercetin helps inhibit the release of histamine, and therefore lessens allergy symptoms. 

Some people find that eating local honey helps to reduce their allergy symptoms.  The idea behind this is that honey contains trace amounts of pollen, and can help your body desensitize and reduce symptoms over time. 

Another recommendation is to incorporate ginger and turmeric into your diet.  These spices have a traditional use for the treatment of seasonal allergies.  Both of these herbs have anti-inflammatory properties.  Easily add these to meals such as scrambled eggs and into smoothies, or prepare them as herbal teas. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, a significant portion of Americans don’t get enough fruit and vegetables.  In fact, it was reported that only about 12% of adults ate an adequate amount of fruits, and even fewer, about 9%, met daily vegetable recommendations. Support your overall health by increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, and get the benefit of helping to protect against seasonal allergies.  For individuals with more moderate or severe seasonal allergies, be sure to speak with your doctor to come up with a plan to meet your needs. 

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