It’s that time of the year again. The frost of another barren winter has given way to sunshine, chirping birds, buzzing bees and blooming flowers… except those blooming flowers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be for those of us with seasonal allergies. That’s right—it’s spring. Or as those of us with hay fever like to think of it, “When plants attack” season.
When you’re suffering a full-on allergy attack, you probably rely on over-the-counter or prescription medications to clear up your sneezes and watery eyes, but you can actually reduce your dependency on meds by eating allergy-fighting foods that boost your immune system or block or decrease histamine production so those nasty reactions don’t go (as far) into overdrive.
There’s no real “cure” for seasonal allergies, of course, so especially if you have severe reactions, you’ll still need to rely on a consult with your friendly neighborhood pharmacist or your doc once the histamine does hit the fan, but making sure you get plenty of these allergy-fighting foods on the daily could help make your symptoms less severe, so, hopefully, it won’t be the end of the world if you realize your emergency purse stash of Claritin is no more than an empty bottle.
All allergy-related health data is drawn from studies published at the National Center for Biotechnological Information unless otherwise noted.
Almond and Honey Cornmeal Cake
Spoon Fork Bacon
Easy Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal
This ain't your mama's (or the Quaker Oats guy's) strawberries and cream oatmeal. Sweet-tart strawberries are perfectly balanced by wholesome oats and just a dash of half-and-half. Garnish it with almonds and chia seeds for texture.
In this recipe, almonds are back (in a more affordable quantity this time) with their magnesium and vitamin E, and strawberries bring immune system-boosting vitamin C to the game, which may also help lower your body's production of histamine according to Prevention magazine. Oatmeal is another great source of magnesium, making this recipe a triple threat.
Damn Delicious brings us a veritable allergy gladiator in the form of a meal prep recipe for tuna salad. Instead of spreading this tuna between two slices of will-be-soggy-by-noon bread, she suggests crisp apples and cucumbers as contrasting dippers along with a hard-boiled egg and a handful of almonds for extra protein. Any tuna salad left over from dipping your fruits can be eaten wrapped in the handy Bibb lettuce leaves the tuna's sitting on.
In addition to the almonds' magnesium and vitamin E, the tuna is packed with omega 3s, which DSM says can reduce allergy suffering due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The salad itself is made with Greek yogurt, and although Live Science says researchers aren't yet sure why, it seems probiotics contained in yogurt may have some benefit to hay fever sufferers. And Dr. Andrew Weil explains quercetin, a bioflavonoid found in apples and other fruits and veggies, helps stabilize the cells that produce histamine (so for those of us with allergies, an apple a day might be more than marketing ploy after all).
Pro tip: Eating apples and doctor-approved fish during pregnancy may help protect your progeny from allergies and asthma. So if you want to save your kiddos from the fate you've suffered, put that little nugget away for later.
Smoked Salmon Carpaccio
Smoked salmon carpaccio mixes the umami of smoked salmon with the sweet apples of your choice, briny capers and piquant touches like radish and onion. Garnish it with fennel for a mild licorice kick and some crushed pistachios for texture. You can pile it on top of a cream cheese-schmeared bagel, serve it as is for a brunch appetizer or stuff it into a pita for a light lunch.
The salmon packs those anti-inflammatory omega 3s, and there's quercetin from the apples and onions.
Spoon Fork Bacon
Pineapple Cauliflower Fried "Rice"
Even if you're not avoiding grains, this cauliflower rice dish is worth trying. In addition to cauliflower, it's packed with garden veggies like carrots, peas, bell peppers, green onions and garlic with a bit of pineapple for sweetness and cashews for crunch.
With the cauliflower, peppers, garlic and green onions, this fried rice is chock-full of magical quercetin. The peppers and pineapple are also good sources of vitamin C, and you'll find magnesium in the cashews. Additionally, the pineapple contains bromelain, a powerful anti-inflammatory that reduces irritation in the throat and sinuses from things like allergies according to Dr. Axe.
Strawberry-Rose Hip Frozen Yogurt
Tangy rose hip (the fruit of the rosebush) combined with sweet-tart strawberries brings new dimension to creamy frozen yogurt.
Live Science says that, yes, there's the probiotic kick of the yogurt that might sideline your allergy symptoms, but the real story here is the rose hip. They're not just a better source of vitamin C than the strawberries they're paired with, they contain (are you sitting down? You should sit down for this) up to 50 percent more vitamin C than oranges according to Clinical Advisor. They might be the best source of the big C on Earth.
Half Baked Harvest
Garlic-Parmesan Cauliflower Steaks
Served as a main, a side or even a snack, garlic-Parmesan cauliflower steaks are an impressive dish flavored with aromatics like garlic, rosemary, parsley, thyme and oregano and sprinkled with a healthy dose of grated Parm.
With quercetin from the cauliflower and garlic, you're probably already on board. But the herbs in this one also offer some potential allergy relief. Parsley is more than a throwaway garnish according to D'Adamo Personalized Nutrition; it makes it harder for your body to secrete histamine. Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, which suppresses allergic immunoglobulin responses and inflammation caused by leukocytes (that is, it protects against allergic reactions). Better yet, you can use the same herbs when roasting a variety of veggies, so you can have something different every night.
Pour this elderberry syrup over pancakes, in your oatmeal, into cocktails and more. You can even drizzle it on buttered bread or toast or mix it with peanut butter for the most berry-licious peanut butter-syrup sandwich you've ever tasted.
BlackEdlerberry.info notes that no fewer than four different studies have been done on the health benefits of black elderberries. They have a remarkable ability to prevent free radicals from damaging your body and help jump-start the immune system.
The Hungry Mouse
Avocado and Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad
If you're turned off by the tang of Greek yogurt (or even if you aren't), the creamy avocado in this chicken salad will take the edge off without the bad fats that are in mayo. There are common chicken salad ingredients like celery and onions (and even poultry herbs like tarragon), but what sets the avocado and Greek yogurt chicken salad apart are the bursting-with-juice grapes, sweet-tart dried cranberries, and pecans for added crunch.
A hint of lemon juice also adds some vitamin C, and you still get those always-necessary probiotics from the Greek yogurt and quercetin from onions. Plus, the red grapes provide resveratrol, an anti-inflammatory compound that AchooAllergy.com says may help with allergies. Pecans also carry allergy-sufferer-friendly vitamin E.
Dark Chocolate Orange Slice Wheels
The Delicious Crescent
Lemon-Garlic Roasted Broccoli Salad
Salads with lettuce are so turn of the century. Over the last few years, it's been all about the bowl, and why should a salad be any different? This lemon-garlic-roasted broccoli salad replaces lettuce with hearty, slightly bitter kale and roasted broccoli, garlic and pine nuts. It's drizzled with a lemon-balsamic vinaigrette, which gets just a hint of heat from crushed red pepper. Top it with tart pomegranate arils, buttery avocado and just a bit of salty feta, and you've got a lunch that will make your coworkers sad they swung by Micky D's.
As you might imagine, the vitamin C in the lemon and broccoli and the quercetin in the garlic come out swinging, but kale is also chock-full of carotenoids, which have a similar effect on certain allergy symptoms as vitamin C.
Half Baked Harvest
Turmeric Sweet Potato Soup
Sweet potatoes and apple get a savory kick in this soup, featuring pungent aromatics like garlic, onion and turmeric and a punch of spice from grated ginger. Don't forget to garnish it with parsley!
Garlic, onion, and apple provide quercetin, which gets a little help from turmeric, which also blocks the release of histamine, as does the parsley. Sweet potatoes contain vitamin C and have significant antioxidant properties.
The Sophisticated Caveman
Watermelon Tuna Ceviche
Sushi-grade tuna accompanies juicy watermelon, cucumber, poblano pepper, mint and garlic in this ceviche, "cooked" in the acid from lime and orange juice. It's a fresh, slightly grassy (in a good way) bite you won't soon forget.
The omega-3s from the tuna; the quercetin from the garlic, onion, and pepper; and the vitamin C from the OJ and lime juice alone would make this a powerhouse allergy-fighter, but the lycopene in watermelon (which is also present in tomatoes, but not in as high a quantity) has been shown to reduce allergic responses, specifically related to lung function, according to Women's Health.
The Food in My Beard/Tbsp.
Drink it hot or cold or even drizzle it over the turmeric sweet potato soup for a little extra turmeric kick. However you serve it up, almond milk-based golden milk's combo of bitter turmeric; sweet honey and vanilla; and spicy cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper is a healthy and refreshing dairy-free concoction.
Just like the nut the milk comes from, almond milk contains a healthy dose of vitamin E, and we can never say enough about the health benefits of turmeric, which includes those spiffy histamine blockers.
Gimme Some Oven
Piña Colada Fruit Salad
This salad may be an edible nonalcoholic piña colada, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a kick. In addition to cream of coconut and fresh pineapple and its juice, it's filled with a selection of fresh, ripe berries and slices of banana and orange. If you really want it spiked, you can always sub rum for the pineapple juice (though that will reduce the allergy-fighters in the recipe). Pro tip: spiced rum—just trust me, and if you don't use it for this salad, save that little tidbit for your next tropical pineapple and coconut cocktail. You won't be disappointed.
With bromelain and vitamin C, pineapple makes a solid anti-allergy showing in this recipe. Strawberries and oranges provide even more vitamin C, and blueberries contain resveratrol.
Kale Salad With Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, and Brown Rice
The tangy cranberries and feta in this healthy salad foil the herbaceous flavors of kale and broccoli, while sweet potatoes, brown rice, and pecans add lusciousness and depth.
The pecans have vitamin E, and you'll get trusty old vitamin C from the sweet potatoes and broccoli, which also contains magnesium (as does the kale). Broccoli, as with other cruciferous veggies, also has the ability to open the sinuses according to Wildwood Lifestyle Center.
Gimme Some Oven
Chocolate-Covered Roasted Pumpkin Seed Turtle Clusters
Can we just talk about how damn good these look? Roasted pumpkin seeds give the humble but always delish turtle candy a serious upgrade—salty, sweet, and smoky all in one bite.
Vitamin E from the pecans and flavonoids from the dark chocolate alone make turtles a good sweet tooth-satisfier for the allergy-ridden. Pumpkin seeds add magnesium, and since a quarter-cup of them equals half your daily requirement of Mg, you can practically justify eating five of these in one sitting.
Half Baked Harvest