Flu season is still in full swing, but allergy season is picking up too! Dr. Sabina Rebis of American Family Care explains the different symptoms of flu and allergies, and breaks down what to eat and what to avoid to curb allergy flare ups.
Menu that helps allergies:
Be bland. When you notice pollen counts are high, AFC docs recommend you skip spicy foods and eat bland foods instead. This might include extra hot Mexican cuisine like any dish seasoned with fresh jalapeno or serrano peppers, zesty Asian food, like kung pao chicken, even curry blends that are laced with cayenne powder. These spicy flavors can trigger more histamine in your body on top of what you could already breath in the spring air.
Drink green tea. Natural anti-histamines are in tea. Physicians with AFC explain histamines are chemicals your body releases during allergic reactions. Drinking a morning cup of green tea (hot or cold) should cut back on morning sneezes!
Find Fish. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, like salmon, trout or tuna, have anti-inflammatory effects, plus Omega-3s boost your immunity.
Pick Pineapple. The tropical fruit is packed with vitamins C and B as well as the enzyme Bromelain which can reduce swelling in the nose and sinuses, helping to relieve hay fever symptoms.
Menu that Aggravates Allergies:
Avoid alcohol. A glass of wine or a vodka tonic after dinner could irritate existing allergies. A Danish study found every additional alcoholic drink in a week increased the risk of seasonal allergies by three percent. Researchers suspect the bacteria and yeast in the alcohol produce histamines and cause a stuffy nose or itchy eyes.
Turn down dairy. Cheese and yogurt are not great to grab for a snack in the spring. Products made from milk can make mucus feel thicker and that could make your throat very uncomfortable if you experience allergy drainage.
Turn down tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in histamines so the spring time favorite is not always best for someone who is highly allergic to pollen. Tomatoes share similar proteins to those found in pollen, so if you eat tomato on high pollen count days, the tomato proteins cross-react with pollen and could cause what is known as Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). This syndrome is a contact allergic reaction in the mouth and throat with raw fruits and vegetables. Bottom line: If grass pollen gives you a scratchy throat, take fresh tomatoes off the menu.
Avoid a large amount of sugar. Whether it’s candy, cookies or another sweet treat, sugar is not the best choice during allergy season. AFC physicians say a spike in blood sugar triggers an insulin response and that can lead to congestion.