Guide to Combating Allergic Rhinitis

Nutritional Approach to Reducing and Healing Allergic Rhinitis with Functional Foods

Your one-stop source for information on the optimal diet, the top 12 foods, and the best recipes for preventing and fighting allergic rhinitis symptoms.

How can this guide help you?

This Online Guide to Allergic Rhinitis and Nutrition is designed to help people prevent and fight symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis through a nutritional approach. This nutrition guide is structured along four sections: 1) home page with the latest research and tips (you're currently on the home page — for news and tips, please scroll down this page); 2) diet guidelines for reducing allergic rhinitis symptoms; 3) best foods for preventing and healing allergic rhinitis; 4) healing recipes for people with allergic rhinitis. Use the menu on the right to navigate this guide.

Reduce allergic rhinitis with nutrition What is allergic rhinitis?

The immune system is designed to protect the body by fighting harmful substances like bacteria and viruses. Allergic rhinitis occurs when the immune system overreacts to normally harmless substances that you have inhaled (these substances are called allergens). It is a fairly common condition, affecting about 20% of Americans. Allergic rhinitis may be either seasonal or perennial. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is caused by outdoors allergens such as pollen. Perennial allergic rhinitis typically occurs year-round and is caused by indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet dander and mold.

An allergic reaction begins when the so-called IgE antibodies, which sit on the surface of mast cells, encounter an allergen. These antibodies cause the mast cells to release histamine in large quantities. Excess histamine causes an extreme inflammatory response, or an allergic reaction. In case of allergic rhinitis, the symptoms often resemble those of a cold and may include nasal congestion, nose itchiness, a sore throat, coughing, sneezing and a runny nose.

The best way to treat allergic rhinitis is to avoid specific allergens that cause the symptoms. There are also many medications available that can bring relief. In addition, certain nutritional factors — discussed in detail in this nutrition guide — can help prevent and control allergic rhinitis.

Important Notice: The information on this website has not been verified for correctness or completeness. Information included on this website is not a substitute for professional nutrition advice or for professional medical or health advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health professional.

To maximize the health benefits of your allergic rhinitis combating meals, be sure to chew your food properly. Not chewing food well or eating too fast can result in reduced digestive capability, which in turn may hinder the absorption of allergy-fighting vitamins.

You probably already know that carrots are one of the best foods for people who suffer from allergic rhinitis, but did you know that to maximize the health benefits of carrots, you should eat them with a little bit of fat? The beta-carotene in carrots is lipid soluble, which means that the body cannot absorb it without fat.

Here's a tip for those whose allergic rhinitis symptoms get worse after eating tomatoes: cook your tomatoes before eating them and see whether your symptoms improve. Tomato allergy is very common in people who suffer from hay fever, but in many cases cooking and processing alter allergy-causing tomato proteins to such an extent that they no longer trigger allergic reactions.

Grass Pollen Allergy: Foods to Avoid

Learn which 14 foods are most likely to cause adverse reactions in people who suffer from allergic rhinitis caused by grass pollen.
 See Article

Can E Numbers Be Good for You, Too?

People prone to allergic reactions are often advised to shy away from foods with 'E numbers', but are all E numbers bad?
 See Article

Benefits of Not Eating Wheat

What are the differences between wheat allergy, celiac disease and wheat intolerance?
 See Article

Mugwort Allergy and Cross Reactivity with Foods

Learn which foods cross react with mugwort pollen, a common cause of allergic rhinitis.
 See Article

Birch Pollen Induced Hay Fever: List of Foods to Avoid

List of foods that are particularly likely to trigger allergic symptoms in people who are allergic to birch pollen.
 See Article

What Are Hypoallergenic Foods?

Benefits of hypoallergenic foods and a list of some of the least allergenic foods.
 See Article


Foods that are in season usually have more nutritional value and flavor and are generally cheaper than foods that are not in season. In December, there are plenty of foods in season that are safe for most people (but not all!) who suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever). These foods are listed in the tables below. Please note that the tables may be incomplete and that seasonal availability can differ from one year to the next.

In the UK and Ireland, December heralds in many healthy, hypoallergenic foods such as beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, pumpkins, chard, kale, lettuce, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, swedes, cabbage, kohlrabi and garlic. These foods rarely cause oral allergy symptoms in people who suffer from allergic rhinitis. Low-allergenicity and rhinitis-fighting vegetables that are in season in Australia at the moment include asparagus, beets, cabbage, potatoes, zucchini, radishes and daikon radishes, leeks, cucumber, kohlrabi, watercress and lettuce. Also many allergy-fighting herbs like garlic, marjoram, basil, rosemary and thyme are at their best in December. Hypoallegenic and other foods that are generally considered good for people with allergic rhinitis and that are currently in season in this region include beets, garlic, potatoes, cabbage, winter squash and turnips.
Largely thanks to effective cold storage methods, it is still possible to find fresh locally-grown produce in the East North Central States. Locally-grown hypoallegenic and anti-rhinitis veggies currently available in this region include cabbage, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, winter squash and turnips. December heralds in some excellent hypoallergenic foods in the southern/southwestern states of Texas, Arizona and California. In most of these states, the following foods are in season at the moment: cabbage, cucumbers, turnips, sweet potatoes, leeks, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, chard, lettuce, and radishes. In Florida, December heralds in a number of veggies and herbs that are considered safe for most people with allergic rhinitis. These foods include beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini/squash, fennel, broccoli, chard, cucumbers, oregano, and thyme.