Boost your bodies ability to fight seasonal allergies with food
Seasonal allergies are here. Just about everyone I see has been dealing with a reaction to some allergen in the air.
The first question I receive is, “Do you know what I might try to get rid of this sinus problem?” Usually, my recommendation is to use the neti pot, a natural nose spray or antihistamines. These products are helpful, but why not try food?
There are a number of foods that help boost your immune system and provide antihistamine support.
According to Dr. Michael Greger, a physician, author and fellow of the American College of Legal Medicine, “Natural immunomodulators that can help regulate our immune system without side-effects have been sought for centuries, and all the while they have been sitting in the produce aisle. Plants produce thousands of active compounds, many of which modulate our immune system.”
Referring to extensive research on the beta glucans that are present in these foods, Greger noted that a series of experiments on athletes several years ago found compelling evidence that the beta glucan fiber in nutritional yeast — as little as half a teaspoon a day — help even non-athletes defend against pathogens and lead to fewer allergy-related difficulties when subjects become ill.
“The researchers suggest that maybe the yeast fiber is able to counteract the negative effects of stress on the immune system,” he said. “Unlike antibiotics and antivirals, which are designed to kill the pathogens directly, these yeast compounds instead appear to work by stimulating our immune defenses, and as such, don’t share the same antibiotic side effects. They stimulate our immune defenses because our body recognizes them as foreign. These fibers may also have anti-inflammatory effects.”
Nooch — or nutritional yeast — is grown on molasses, harvested and dried with heat to deactivate it. It is not a live yeast, so you cannot bake with it. It should not be confused with brewer’s yeast or active dry yeast.
Nutritional yeast may be one of the best additions to your diet in terms of nutrition and taste. It provides a wealth of vitamins, minerals and protein. It has a cheesy flavor, and vegans love to use it in place of cheese in their recipes.
It comes in flakey and powdery forms that makes it easy to sprinkle on pretty much anything. I prefer the flakes.
The best nooch to buy is the type that is not fortified. You may also like to select a version that has no whey or folic acid. The purest versions I have found are produced by Sari Foods and Foods Alive. Everything that is in these products is naturally occurring.
What other foods should you reach for this allergy season? According to nutritionfacts.org, the following plant foods will cut your risk in half:
An ounce of sea vegetables appears to lower risk by 49 percent. However, avoid kelp and hijiki. Buy some dulse and kelp sprinkles and put them on your vegetables, salads and soups.
Dark green leafy vegetables:
Greens of the land, rich in carotenoids, may protect as much as greens from the sea. A study found that those with the highest level of total carotenoids in their blood streams had significantly lower prevalence of seasonal allergies. Drink green juices, make kale chips or kale salads. Add kale to your beans and soups.
Flax and chia seeds:
Similar to the carotenoid finding those with higher levels of both long and short chain omega-3 acids in their blood stream were found to have less allergic rhinitis in a cross-sectional study. Grind some flax seeds and keep them in the freezer to add to your cereal or smoothies.
A teaspoon of miso a day was associated with about 41 percent lower prevalence. Use it in soup or as a dressing.
Here are some additional foods that will help provide natural antihistamines and decongestants, vitamin C, anti-inflammatory action and enzymes:
Packed full of quercetin, onions are a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, making them perfect for battling hay fever symptoms. Try to eat them while they’re as fresh as possible, as a quarter of their quercetin content is lost after being stored for a week or more.
Apples have a high quercetin count as well. Studies have shown that people who regularly eat apples have greater protection against allergies and asthma.
Researchers have found that 500 milligrams of vitamin C each day can help to ease allergy symptoms. One cup of raw broccoli packs about 80 milligrams of vitamin C, making it an ideal step in relieving allergies. All cruciferous vegetables have been helpful in clearing blocked sinuses.
Turmeric helps to prevent the release of histamine, one of the main causes of hay fever. It is also an anti-inflammatory.
Garlic bulbs work as decongestants, helping to ease sneezes and sniffles. If you are brave enough, crush them, leave them to sit for 10 to 15 minutes to release the active ingredients, and then eat raw.
Tomatoes are bursting with vitamin C. Studies prove they are great for boosting the immune system, producing a natural antihistamine and building tolerance against respiratory issues.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain — this has been shown to reduce irritation in allergic diseases.
Kiwi is a great source of vitamin C, with 64 milligrams in just one fruit.
Check out the recipes that I am providing for you today to combine a number of these foods. Make them a meal, drink them in a smoothie or juice, or eat them raw. Whatever way you do it, you are adding to your body’s ability to reduce symptoms and boost your natural immune abilities.
Natural Flu Shot
Choose all organic, non-GMO ingredients where possible. Makes 4 ounces.
4 spears of pineapple, juiced
½ lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, juiced
ginger root (1 inch), juiced
turmeric root (1 inch), juiced
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
12 drops cayenne pepper tincture or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Stir ingredients together and serve.
Mighty C Kale Salad
Makes 6 servings.
1 bunch curly kale, deveined and chopped
1 small head broccoli, chopped
1 cup chopped roma or halved cherry tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
⅓ cup tahini
1 heaping tablespoon light miso
1 teaspoon gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Blend dressing ingredients in a blender or whisk together with a fork.
Place all salad ingredients in a bowl. Use the sea salt, lemon juice and crushed garlic to massage the kale.
When the kale is soft, lightly add the dressing and stir.
Sprinkle nutritional yeast on the salad and fold in.
Chill slightly before serving or serve at room temperature.
Note: You can use this dressing to make Kale Chips by adding the nutritional yeast into the dressing in a bowl and dipping palm-size kale leaves into it. Lay them out on a dehydrator sheet or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dehydrate for 6 hours or bake on 200 degrees in the oven for 3 hours.
Thai Pineapple Salad
Makes 3 to 4 servings.
1 ½ cups fresh pineapple chunks
1 cucumber, cut in chunks
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin or diced
3 spring onions, sliced
½ cup cashews, chopped and soaked for 2 hours
1 cup fresh cilantro
handful of basil leaves
ground nuts and add lime wedge to garnish
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chile, de-seeded and minced
1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos
1 tablespoon lime juice (about ½ lime)
2 teaspoons coconut sugar syrup
1 tablespoon pineapple juice
Blend all dressing ingredients until creamy.
Place the pineapple chunks, cucumber chunks, red bell pepper, green onion and nuts in a mixing bowl.
Add most of the cilantro and basil setting aside a little for garnish.
Toss all with dressing.
Place the salad onto serving plate and garnish with reserved basil and cilantro, plus sprinkling of nuts.
Serve with lime wedges.