5 Anti-Inflammatory foods to try during Allergy Season

5 Anti-Inflammatory foods to try during Allergy Season

Article By: Dominica Dieffenbach, RDN

Dominica is a Registered Dietitian and mom of 2 kiddos currently specializing in the special needs pediatric population. She has over 15 years of experience as an RD, working with a wide variety of patients to provide them with individualized medical nutrition therapy and education.

Spring is right around the corner, which means flowers are blooming and temperatures are warming up... However, for many kiddos, springtime = allergy season. When we encounter something that we are allergic to like pollen (called an “allergen”), our immune system views it as an intruder. In response, the immune system releases proteins called histamines, which can cause us to experience the relentless symptoms of runny noses, itchy, watery eyes, and plenty of sneezes. The severity of the reaction depends on how much the body perceives the allergen to be a threat, which can be very mild to more severe.

1) Which foods have natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties?

Antihistamines are substances that block the histamine activity, helping those symptoms subside. Over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines may work well, but often come with the unwanted side effects of making kids drowsy. As a result, many parents may opt for trying to incorporate different foods that have natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties in their kids’ diet.

  • Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant and has been shown to decrease inflammation, which can also decrease the severity of allergy symptoms. Foods that contain Vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi (try the dried form), and strawberries.
  • Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples (the highest concentration is in the core). It has a very strong anti-inflammatory property and can be especially helpful for decreasing swelling in the nasal passages. Pineapple makes a great snack on its own, or try it grilled as a topping for teriyaki chicken sandwiches.
  • Quercetin is an antioxidant found in plant foods, which is thought to work as an antihistamine by preventing specialized blood cells (called mast cells) from releasing histamine. Quercetin can be found in cherries, onions, dill, oregano, blueberries, and asparagus.
  • Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and can be found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, miso, and yogurt. Eating foods that are naturally rich in probiotics adds more good bacteria to your gut, creating a more robust microbiome. In turn, this can help boost immunity and decrease an allergenic response.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can fight allergic inflammation by stabilizing mast cell membranes, making them less likely to release histamine during allergy season. Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, meats, and dairy products from grass-fed animals, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

2) What are some ways to reduce environmental allergen exposure?

The following strategies can help your family to reduce environmental allergen exposure:

  • Wear a hat when outdoors to minimize pollen and dust getting trapped in the hair
  • Avoid air drying laundry outside as pollen can stick to clothing, towels, and sheets
  • Change clothes after spending time outdoors, and keep dirty clothes in a hamper out of the bedroom
  • Pay attention to daily pollen and mold spore levels to plan outdoor activities around when the counts are lower (try the Weather.com “allergy tracker”)
  • Try an air purifier/HEPA filter in the bedroom

3) What if nutrition alone isn't enough?

As parents, we have the best intentions of feeding our children in a way that will give their bodies everything they need, however, this can be challenging when it comes to families who are on-the-go, kids who are picky eaters, and/or children with a limited diet. When allergies are attacking and you just want to give your kiddo some relief, try the Renzo’s Allergy Relief Bundle, which contains the Invincible Vitamin C, Picky Eater Multivitamin with Iron, and Yummy Tummy Probiotic.

Renzo's Vitamins provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice.

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