Spring allergies got you down? Research suggests that following the right
diet may help ease allergy symptoms in some people.
For example, clear soups can help thin mucus and clear nasal passages. Some
studies suggest that the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus strain L-92, often
added to yogurt or milk, may help ease Japanese cedar-pollen allergy. Vitamin C
may help minimize many spring allergy symptoms.
If you find yourself developing a killer headache when riding an elevator
with someone who was a bit generous dabbing on the perfume, you have company.
More than 2 million Americans have fragrance allergies or sensitivities -- and
the number is on the rise.
Although that person's perfume may have been all too obvious a culprit,
there are many hidden sources of fragrances, says Clifford W. Bassett, MD,
medical director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York. Bassett helped
WebMD sniff out...
WebMD turned to two nutritional experts for their advice on foods to help
you fight allergy symptoms:
Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, mother of a child with bad seasonal allergies
and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association
David Leopold, MD, director of integrative medical education at the Scripps
Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego
The meals in this 7-day menu plan feature foods high in antioxidants,
omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients that our experts say may help ease
inflammation and minimize complications of hay fever.
Even better, these healthy foods benefit your body in many other ways:
boosting heart health and strengthening your immune system, too.
Day 1: Meals for the Spring Allergy Season
Breakfast: Homemade or low-sugar instant oatmeal made with skim or 1%
acidophilus milk fortified with vitamin D, kiwi halves or orange wedges, and a
cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea.
Lunch: Roasted turkey sandwich with light cream cheese and cranberry
sauce on whole wheat bread, 3-Bean salad with light vinaigrette (made with
canola or olive oil), plain or light yogurt (with active cultures) with frozen
strawberries or raspberries stirred in.
Dinner: Teriyaki Salmon with a side of steamed brown rice and
broccoli served with a cup of hot miso soup (or other broth-based soup).
Acidophilus milk is regular cow’s milk, but it has the probiotic bacteria,
Lactobacillus acidophilus, added to it. The miso soup, along with other warm
broths and teas, can help loosen mucus and ease congestion.
Salmon is one of the best food sources of the potent omega-3 fatty acids,
DHA and EPA. Gerbstadt recommends fitting in fish three times a week for these
anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Studies have suggested the consumption of fatty
acids reduce inflammatory markers and may improve lung function. More research,
however, is needed.
Day 2: Meals for the Spring Allergy Season
Breakfast: Peach smoothie made with frozen or canned unsweetened
peaches, banana, and yogurt with active cultures, hot green or black
Lunch: Vegetarian pizza (with garlic, onions, mozzarella cheese),
fruit salad (red grapes, apples, cherries, or pears).
Dinner: Chicken (or lean beef) and vegetable stew served with a whole
grain roll or crackers and a glass of skim or low-fat milk with active
All of the fruits (except bananas) and some of the vegetables in today’s
menu (garlic, onions) are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid phytochemical that has
reported antihistamine properties -- good for nasal congestion.