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Eight allergy-fighting foods to tame your seasonal allergies

Published by Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD on May 12, 2023

Seasonal sniffles, sneezes, and itches got you down? Certain foods may ease your allergy symptoms.


Spring is a beautiful time of year with the reawakening of new growth in dormant plants. But for many, it’s also a reawakening and a reminder of its allergy season triggered by all the grass, pollen, and mold. Everything in full bloom can result in itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, and coughing that can begin as early as February and last until early summer.

Weather also plays a role in how bad the allergy season may be. For example, a mild winter means plants pollinate early, resulting in a more extended allergy season, whereas a rainy spring causes rapid growth in plants which means more mold.

Allergy-fighting foods

The first line of defense is to seek help from an allergist or your family physician to get relief. The more commonly prescribed symptom relievers are antihistamines, decongestants, corticosteroids, bronchodilators, and other medications. While hitting the drugstore aisles in pursuit of fast relief may be one way to deal with the allergy-induced onslaught of congestion, inflammation, and watery eyes, a good diet is also a good defense.

Making a few changes to your diet might do the trick to make you feel like an average person again. Consider the following:

1. Green Tea


During allergy season, your body releases the chemical histamine, causing annoying symptoms. Tea contains natural antihistamines that may help reduce the symptoms of allergies. So, first thing in the morning and throughout the day, drink your tea of choice to prevent the daily grind of dealing with allergies.

2. Follow the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet includes nuts, fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. This way of eating provides various beneficial nutrients that may relieve allergies. For example, the high carotenoid content may have anti-allergy compounds; resveratrol in wine reduces signs of inflammation; quercetin also reduces inflammation and symptom-causing antihistamines, and the high omega-3 fatty acid content may play a role in reducing allergy risk.

3. Probiotics like yogurt

Foods containing “friendly bacteria,” like yogurt, can help regulate your immune system leading to fewer allergy symptoms. Look for probiotics listed on food labels, such as lactobacillus or bifidobacterium, similar to what is found in your gut. Besides yogurt, try miso soup, sauerkraut, and soft cheeses like gouda, kefir, sourdough bread, sour pickles, tempeh, and probiotic supplements.

4. Apples


That apple a day not only keeps the doctor away but may also prevent allergy symptoms from ruining your day. Apples contain a compound called quercetin, found abundantly in the peel that works to keep airways open. Quercetin is a type of flavonoid that prevents your body from pumping out histamine, a chemical causing the annoying symptoms of allergy. Therefore, quercetin may help reduce symptoms of allergies, including runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and swelling of the face and lips. Other foods containing this allergy-fighting gem include citrus fruits, onions, red wine, and dark berries.

5. Broccoli

This green veggie never ceases to amaze with its healthy nutritional profile. Add to this list its ability to relieve allergy symptoms. Broccoli contains several powerful phytonutrients – sulforaphane and glucoraphanin – compounds known for their anti-inflammatory powers. Studies have shown these compounds help reduce the reaction of people with allergies to harmful air particles.

6. Red Grapes

When it comes to fighting springtime allergies, grapes got you covered. Studies have found that eating grapes helps reduce rates of wheezing and rhinitis.

7. Spicy foods

Bring on the heat! Hot peppers, Cajun spices, and even horseradish can stimulate the nasal passages to break up and relieve congestion associated with springtime allergies.

8. Onions

This veggie could be your allergy symptom reliever thanks to a compound in onions called quercetin. Quercetin helps cells pump out histamines as your body reacts to an allergen. It also helps lend the body inflammation-calming nutrients when consumed regularly.

Takeaway message

This allergy season, try using allergy-fighting foods. They may not eliminate an allergy, but they may be able to provide some relief. This allows you to revel at the beginning of spring without the dread of annoying allergy symptoms.




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Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia and The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook, both available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.

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