13 Foods and Remedies to Boost Immunity During Allergy Season

Editor

Summary:

A healthy immune system is essential for combating spring allergies. When your immune system is strong, you have a better chance of fighting off allergens and preventing an inflammatory response in your body. On the other hand, a weakened immune system can make individuals more susceptible and increase allergy severity. Therefore, incorporating immune-boosting foods into your diet can strengthen your immune system and combat spring allergies.

There are many natural food remedies that combat spring allergies. Honey has natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that soothe sore throats and coughs. Quercetin-rich foods such as apples, onions, and broccoli can decrease histamine release, which causes allergy symptoms. In addition, probiotic-rich foods such as kefir and kimchi can balance the gut microbiome and minimize inflammation. Similarly, omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods such as salmon and walnuts can reduce inflammation. Finally, spices such as cayenne pepper and cinnamon can open up nasal passages and ease congestion. By incorporating these foods into your diet, you can reduce allergy severity and frequency.

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Foods to Boost Immunity

Spring allergies, also known as seasonal allergies, are common conditions that occur when the immune system overreacts to allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust. When these allergens enter the body, the immune system mistakenly identifies them as harmful and produces an inflammatory response. This causes symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a healthy immune system to combat spring allergies. In addition, certain foods can alleviate allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system.

1. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that stimulates white blood cells and strengthens the immune system. Some examples of citrus fruits that boost immunity include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, and tangerines. These fruits can be consumed as a snack or added to salads, and smoothies, or infused into water to add flavor and nutrition.

2. Berries

Berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, great for boosting the immune system. In addition, berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are exceptionally high in vitamin C, which can protect the body against infections and allergens. Berries can be consumed fresh or frozen and added to yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, or salads to add a sweet and healthy twist to your diet.

3. Leafy greens

Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard, are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can strengthen the immune system. These greens are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K, as well as iron, calcium, and fiber. They also contain flavonoids and carotenoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the risk of allergies. Leafy greens can be eaten raw in salads, added to smoothies or omelets, or cooked as a side dish.

4. Garlic and ginger

Garlic and ginger are both well-known for their immune-boosting properties. Garlic contains allicin, a compound shown to enhance the immune system and reduce inflammation. Ginger contains gingerol, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Garlic and ginger go great in stir-fries, soups, marinades, and sauces. In addition to being consumed as teas or supplements, they can also boost the immune system quickly.

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5. Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and support the immune system. Probiotics enhance antibody production, reduce inflammation, and prevent infections. Yogurt also contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D and calcium, which are necessary for maintaining strong bones and a healthy immune system. When choosing yogurt, choose plain varieties without added sugars and flavors, and consider adding fresh fruit, nuts, or honey for additional flavor and nutrition.

6. Almonds and sunflower seeds

Almonds and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage and supports the immune system. Almonds are also high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of magnesium and zinc, both important for immune function. These nuts and seeds can be eaten as a snack or added to salads, oatmeal, or smoothies for nutrition and flavor. However, it’s essential to remember that nuts and seeds are high in calories, so consume them in moderation.

7. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin, turmeric’s active ingredient, has been studied for its potential health benefits, including its ability to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Turmeric can be added to curries, soups, stews, or smoothies for a spicy and flavorful twist on your dishes.

8. Green tea

Green tea is a popular beverage rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects. In addition, green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound studied for its potential health benefits, including its ability to enhance immune function and reduce allergy risk. Green tea can be consumed hot or cold and sweetened with honey or lemon for flavor. It can also be used as a smoothie base or incorporated into recipes such as matcha lattes or green tea-infused desserts.

9. Honey

Honey is a natural sweetener with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming honey can soothe sore throats and coughs caused by allergies and may alleviate allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation. Raw, unfiltered honey is recommended to maximize its health benefits. Honey can be used as a natural sweetener in tea, smoothies, and oatmeal or as a topping on toast or yogurt.

10. Quercetin-rich foods (e.g., apples, onions, broccoli)

Quercetin is a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is commonly found in apples, onions, broccoli, and citrus fruits. The antioxidant quercetin helps reduce histamine release, which triggers allergy symptoms, and it may also boost your immune system. Therefore, incorporating quercetin-rich foods into your diet can alleviate allergy symptoms and reduce inflammation. For example, apples can be eaten as a snack, added to salads or oatmeal, or cooked into desserts such as pies or crumbles. The vegetables can be sautéed, roasted, or steamed as side dishes or added to soups and stir-fries for extra nutrition.

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11. Probiotic-rich foods (e.g., kefir, kimchi)

Live beneficial bacteria found in probiotic-rich foods help balance the gut microbiome and reduce inflammation. Foods such as kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt are all good sources of probiotics. Kefir is a fermented milk beverage high in probiotics, protein, and calcium. Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented cabbage, radish, and spices. Consuming probiotic-rich foods can improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the immune system, which may alleviate allergy symptoms. Probiotic-rich foods can be consumed as a snack, added to salads, or used as a meal condiment.

12. Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods (e.g., salmon, walnuts)

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats with anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce allergy risk. Foods such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and walnuts are all good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is particularly high in omega-3s and can be grilled, baked, or poached as a main dish. For extra flavor and nutrition, walnuts can be eaten as a snack or added to salads, oatmeal, or baked goods. Consuming these omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods can reduce inflammation, which may alleviate allergy symptoms.

13. Spices (e.g., cayenne pepper, cinnamon)

Certain spices can alleviate allergy symptoms by opening up the nasal passages and reducing inflammation. For example, cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which relieves congestion and reduces inflammation. Cinnamon has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and may alleviate allergy symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. These spices can be added to soups, stews, or sauces for an extra kick of flavor and nutrition. For a soothing drink that relieves congestion, add cayenne pepper to tea or hot water.

Conclusion

Maintaining a healthy immune system is crucial for combating spring allergies. You can incorporate immune-boosting foods such as citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, garlic, ginger, yogurt, almonds, sunflower seeds, turmeric, and green tea into your diet to strengthen your immune system and reduce allergy risk. In addition, allergy-combating foods such as honey, quercetin-rich foods, probiotic-rich foods, omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods, and spices can alleviate allergy symptoms and reduce inflammation. You can have fewer allergy symptoms this spring if you eat a natural, healthy, and balanced diet.

Editor
Makayla is a medical expert and editor @ WholeYum.

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