The summer season is dusty, and the air is often filled with particles that may cause allergic reactions. The most common allergens are dust mites, animal dander, pollen, insect bites, and mold spores. The symptoms involve sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes, skin rashes and a runny nose.
Allergies can be kept under control with antihistamines, but there are certain foods that act as natural allergy-relief medication.
Here are the top 10 foods and herbs that protect against allergies:
1) Garlic - Garlic contains powerful anti-inflammatory components that significantly reduce onset allergic reactions. Garlic also lowers the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and protects against bone damage. Crushed garlic can be added to soups or salads for a more robust flavor. Make sure that you have a breath mint or some chewing gum handy if you plan on eating garlic!
2) Sweet Potatoes - Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium. They also contain iron, which promotes healthy blood production. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and fights off allergens. These nutritious veggies can be boiled, roasted, grilled, mashed or baked, and go very well with salmon or grilled chicken. Try adding a pinch of cinnamon when boiling for an incredible taste.
3) Apples - An apple is the perfect snack and provides a quick energy boost during the day. They are rich in quercetin, which protects your body against many allergens. Apples decrease the risk for Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and cancer. They can be found in a variety of forms, such as apple juice, apple sauce and fruit salads. An apple a day can truly keep the allergies away!
4) Salmon - Salmon is arguably one of the healthiest foods in existence. It contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which keep allergies under control. There are tons of recipes in which salmon can be prepared. I enjoy them grilled with a sprinkle of black pepper, parsley and garlic. Make sure to add this cold water fish to your diet.
5) Flaxseeds - Flaxseeds are heavy in Omega-3 fatty acids and help reduce inflammation. A teaspoon of flaxseeds can add flavorful taste to a plain yogurt or breakfast cereal. You can even sprinkle a little bit on your salad for some extra zest. Flaxseed oil is a very popular nutritional supplement among athletes as well.
6) Turmeric - This powerful herb acts as a decongestant for people suffering from asthma or other bronchial diseases. The main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which helps ward off sinus infections and respiratory problems. Turmeric can also be used to treat skin irritations and its antibiotic properties are also used in ayurvedic medicine. Chicken curry with turmeric powder is a dish worthy of exploring.
7) Lemons - Lemons are nature's magical citrus fruits. They are loaded with vitamin C, which protects the immune system against harmful bacteria. Lemon water helps flush out dangerous toxins from the body and lemon juice can be squeezed into a cup of tea or added to salads.
8) Ginger - Ginger acts as an antihistamine to block out inflammation and alleviate asthma symptoms. Ginger is used to treat stomach viruses and reduce nausea. Slices of ginger root can be added to green tea or you can simply mix dried ginger powder into the drink. Make sure you stock up on ginger at your local health store or supermarket.
9) Collard Greens - It's always a good idea to eat your greens, especially collard greens. They contain high amounts of carotenoids, which are essential for limiting allergic reactions, and are also rich in vitamin C. Use a bit of extra virgin olive oil when cooking with them.
10) Broccoli - Broccoli is high in vitamin C, which is a great decongestant. It also contains vitamin K, needed for a speedy recovery when you're feeling a bit under the weather. They also aid in proper cell growth and reproduction. You can either steam broccoli or consume it raw.
Some other foods to consider are grapefruits, oranges, berries, parsley, and kale. Avoid eating cantaloupes, watermelons, honeydew and bananas if you suffer from ragweed allergies.
Green tea is another vital element in combating allergic reactions. It contains the powerful EGCG compound and plenty of antioxidants. Add a teaspoon of honey and a little ginger for a winning combination. Don't forget to drink plenty of water too.
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