This spring will be perfect for you—if you’re a bird or a bee. If you’re a human who suffers from allergies, this spring has the potential to be a nightmare. Experts predict it will be one of the worst allergy seasons on record, due to this past winter being one of the mildest (fourth-warmest ever) ever recorded.
An early onset to spring also means a longer allergy season overall. After we suffer through the tree pollens in March and April, grass pollens hit most of the country in May and June.
But, Mother Nature has a way of balancing things out. So, even as she challenges your sinuses, she offers remedies to ease your pain. Try some of these foods known to naturally help with hay fever, congestion, and other allergic reactions when spring is in the air:
Broccoli: Bring it on when your sinuses are blocked. This member of the crucifer family is high in vitamin C. One cup of raw broccoli contains about 80 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C; research has shown 500 mg daily can ease allergy symptoms.
Citrus fruits: Thanks to their mega-doses of vitamin C, citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are good weapons in the quest to breathe freely when pollen and other irritants are in the air.
Collard greens: Collards offer allergy-fighting carotenoids. To help your body absorb their nutrients more readily, eat collard greens with a fat. Try sautéing them in extra-virgin olive oil.
Elderberries: These berries contain flavonoids that reduce inflammation. Ease your suffering by imbibing some elderberry wine, enjoying a glass of juice, or spreading some jam on toast or crackers.
Garlic & onions: The quercetin in onions and garlic (apples too) acts like an antihistamine so it minimizes allergic reactions. Try roasted garlic or carmelized onions on a slice of pizza or with a nice bruschetta.
Miso soup: Miso (and other broths) are known to help mitigate the mucus that builds up in the nasal passages during allergy season. Other mucus-clearing foods include spicy foods, such as horseradish, cayenne, or chili powder.
Beets, purple/red grapes: The anthocyanins that give certain foods, such as beets, purple or red grapes, berries, and cherries, their dark violet-like color have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swollen membranes that make breathing difficult.
"7-Day Menu for Spring Allergy Season" by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, www.webmd.com
"10 Foods that Fight Spring Allergies" by Leah Zerbe, www.rodale.com
"13 Foods that Fight Allergies" by Michelle Schoffro Cook, www.care2.com, 3/22/13