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Nutrition 101

What to Eat to Alleviate Hay Fever

What to Eat to Alleviate Hay Fever

Dietetic Intern Dana Mortell suggests which foods can help to relieve your seasonal allergies.

As beautiful as springtime can be, a lot of us experience the complications of treating seasonal allergies -- also known as “hay fever.” Over 35 million Americans suffer the inconvenience of annual allergies and many attempt to treat it through pharmaceuticals.

The cause for most allergies is due to the pollen that is released into the air from trees, weeds and grasses. Our body identifies the pollen as a foreign invader, triggering antibodies (substances that attack bacteria, viruses and other organisms relating to illness) to attack the allergen. We then release chemicals called “histamines” which can lead to runny noses, itchy eyes and other inconvenient symptoms.

Here are some common vitamins and minerals in foods that help with allergy relief. Though not guaranteed to fully cure seasonal allergies, the following can help to alleviate symptoms:

1. Resveratrol

Resveratrol is an antioxidant that is found in the skin of red grapes and blueberries. Also found in smaller traces in peanuts, resveratrol is an anti-inflammatory agent common in those who follow a traditional Mediterranean diet with daily fruit intake. Fewer nasal allergy symptoms and less frequent wheezing are connected to the adequate intake of resveratrol.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is vital for the growth and repair of tissues, which is necessary for bodily development. With regards to allergies, it is important to consume the accurate daily recommendations for Vitamin C (75mg/d for adult women and 90mg/d for adult men). Luckily there are a variety of foods such as oranges, strawberries and even red peppers that are rich in vitamin C.

Apple skin is also high in vitamin C, as well as containing the antioxidant quercetin, which has been linked to improved lung function.

3. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an immune-boosting, fat-soluble vitamin that helps reduce the risk of upper respiratory infections such as the common cold. Also an antioxidant, it protects the body from damaging free radicals which can lead to oxidative tissue damage. The damage triggers inflammation, which relates to allergy issues such as nasal infections and wheezing.

According to the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs), the estimated average requirements of vitamin E for adult men and women are 15mg a day. Without sufficient vitamin E intake, many of us could be at risk for inflammation that could result in nasal infections and wheezing. Nuts and seeds such as almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds are rich sources of Vitamin E.


SPE Certified tip

Most of us begin to crave cold beverages due to the beautiful weather approaching at this time of the year. However, warm liquids such as hot tea or soup with a broth base can help with nasal allergy symptoms and should be consumed twice a day. The steam from the hot liquids can help mucous thin out in order to alleviate congestion. Check out Senior Culinary Nutritionist Natalia Hancock’s recipe for Healing Chicken Soup to help alleviate symptoms!


Do you suffer from allergies? Let us know how you treat yours in the comments section below.

nutrition advice, nutrition facts, allergies, allergy advice, hayfever, vitamin d, resveratrol

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