Nutrition Bites - Allergy Season

Nutrition Bites - Ask the Nutritionist

By Krista Goncalves, BSc., CHN, RNC

Q: Krista, I love springtime but I loathe allergy season with the itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, blocked sinuses, sneezing and headaches! Is there something I can include in my diet to help alleviate these symptoms or ward them off all together?

A: That time of year is here, when the grip of Winter's cold seems to finally be lifted, flowers are are slowly starting to bloom, the birds & the bees are all a'twitter and, oh yeah – pollen also fills the air!

For allergy sufferers, Springtime probably brings feelings of anxiety or that reluctant submission to the annual popping of allergy pills to keep their symptoms at bay.

Although there are many different medications available to relieve those all-too-common allergy symptoms, sometimes changes in your diet can also provide you with some much needed relief and even provide a measure of “prevention”, if you will.

The top 5 items your grocery cart shouldn't miss out on coming in contact with this Spring are...

1. Broccoli

Researchers have discovered that broccoli could help to protect you from respiratory inflammation. In fact, cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane, which appears to have a very beneficial effect on inflammation. Studies have shown that about 500 mg of Vitamin C a day can ease allergy symptoms, and just one cup of raw broccoli packs about 80 mg.

2. Red Grapes

The skin of red grapes is high in antioxidants and resveratrol – a well-studied anti-inflammatory compound. Eating red grapes will help protect the cells from oxidative damage that may cause diseases. Be aware that grapes are on the EPA's 'Dirty Dozen' list of highest pesticide residues so buy organic when possible.

3. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are considered 'super allergy fighters' because they contain Vitamin C as well as bioflavonoids, both of which are natural antihistamines that may reduce allergy symptoms. Bioflavonoids are said to enhance the health benefits of Vitamin C including stronger immunity, detoxification, eye & skin health, thus making citrus fruits a powerhouse in health as well as allergies. Oranges, lemon and grapefruit, among others are rich sources of Vitamin C.

4. Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids in seafood have natural anti-inflammatory effects that boost the immune system -- in turn, improving your body's ability to fight off allergies. Some studies have even shown that eating upwards of six ounces of wild-caught salmon twice a week can be just as effective as taking allergy medication!

5. Collard Greens

Collard greens contain phytochemicals, specifically carotenoids. This component is well known for easing allergic reactions. To help your body absorb their nutrients more readily, eat collard greens with a 'good fat'. For example, sautéing them in extra-virgin olive oil is a great, and tasty way to go.

Here's a great way to incorporate nearly all of these powerful allergy-fighters...try this recipe from member Dawn Thalheimer: Collard Green Coleslaw

Krista Goncalves, RNC is a Registered Nutritionist and operates ReFresh Fitness & Nutrition. For more details and special Members pricing for Nutritional Consultations, please email Krista @ ‘’ or text/leave a message @ 250.826.7293


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