Spring has sprung and so has the seasonal woes for allergy sufferers. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) released its 2015 Spring Allergy Capitals report for the worst cities in the US for allergies. Well, what do you know? Jackson tops the list at No. 1 again this year. It seems everyone is battling watery or itchy eyes, a runny nose and constant sneezing.
This time of year, Americans are reaching for medicine to relieve their seasonal allergy symptoms, but should they be reaching for food instead? Research says yes! If you have seasonal allergies, it is a sign your immune system is responding to certain types of mold and pollen within the environment. The body perceives them as dangerous invaders and ramps up its defense system to go to battle. Eating nutrient-rich foods regularly is a key component to building and maintaining a powerful security squad, which is your immune system.
Here are three anti-congestion foods you should be eating now:
Probiotics. found in yogurt contain "live and active" bacteria which according to research may help strengthen our immune system. In fact, a study published in The World Journal of Gastroenterology showed that consumption of probiotics helped to decrease the seasonal allergic response to pollen, specifically as it relates to nasal symptoms, such as a runny or congested nose.
Start your day with a Greek yogurt parfait, layered with berries, low-fat granola and silvered almonds. Greek yogurt gets a bonus point for having twice the amount of muscle building protein as regular yogurt. The whole family can snack on fresh smoothies using yogurt, frozen fruit and spinach. Bypass the soda and fries and treat your kids to one of the several frozen yogurt shops around town.
Vitamin D. Recent research shows that low vitamin D levels are associated with increased allergy symptoms, such as sneezing and sinus infections. The best source of vitamin D is through sunlight. Another good source of vitamin D is through the foods we eat like salmon, eggs, fortified cereal and milk.
Try and get 5-15 minutes a day of direct sunlight around the noon hour, if possible. Switch out chicken for salmon twice a week. Add a glass of low-fat or fat-free, vitamin D-rich milk to meals or snacks.
Spices. Researchers say that reaching for spicy foods help to thin the mucous secretions and can clear nasal passages, so that you can breathe easier. Turn up the heat to traditional Mexican dishes by adding 1 tablespoon chili powder, plus the juice of 1 Lime. Try the provided Indian inspired roasted vegetable recipe tonight.
Next time you think there is no relief for your seasonal allergy symptoms, take another look at your diet. There just might be a delicious way for you to breathe clearly soon!