That time of year is upon us, where the snow is finally beginning to melt, flowers are are slowly starting to bloom, and pollen fills the air.
For allergy sufferers the first mention of spring can not only spawn a feeling of anxiety, but also bring one -- if not all -- thoughts to mind: itching, watery eyes, runny nose, blocked sinuses, sneezing and headaches.
Although there are many different medications available to relieve allergy symptoms, sometimes changes in your diet can also provide you with some much needed relief.
Top 5 items that your grocery cart should not miss this spring:
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 milligrams 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 -- an anti-inflammatory compound. Eating red grapes will help protect the cells from oxidative damage that may cause diseases.
3. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are considered 'super allergy fighters' because they contain Vitamin C and 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 and skin and health, making citrus fruits a powerhouse in health as well as allergies. Oranges, lemon and grapefruit among others are rich sources of vitamin C.
Heat, wind and rain can all have an impact on pollen counts
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 six ounces of 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 fat. Sautéing them in extra-virgin olive oil is a great, and tasty way to go.
These foods are not meant to replace allergy medications, but to ease symptoms when used in conjunction with proper treatment. Be sure to see a physician if you're experiencing prolonged symptoms and/or suffer with respiratory illnesses.