The Best Anti-Allergy Foods – Become Allergy-Free With These Superfoods
Looking for information about foods that can help heal allergies? This section of our Guide to Preventing Allergies presents 14 hypoallergenic and allergy fighting superfoods that are considered safe — or even beneficial — for people who are prone to allergies. For general information about eating right for allergies, visit this Guide's diet page. For healthy recipes that feature some of the best anti-allergy foods, visit this Guide's recipe page.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but did you know that this superfood can also keep allergic reactions at bay? Apples are one of the best dietary sources of quercetin — a flavonoid that has been shown to effectively protect against allergic reactions. Quercetin works its protective magic by stabilizing the cell membranes of mast cells and basophils, thereby preventing them from releasing a load of histamine. Enjoy apples plain as a simple snack, slice into oatmeal, or toss in a fruit salad!
#2: Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes, one of the oldest vegetables known to man, are highly nutritious. Sweet potatoes may also be one of the best additions to your diet if you suffer from allergies as they are one of the foods that are least likely to cause allergic reactions (that is also why they are often recommended as a safe first food for babies). Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin C as well as some unique root proteins which, according to preliminary studies, have significant antioxidant properties.
Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat. Actually, this ancient "grain" is not even a grain; it is a seed of a fruit that is a distant relative of rhubarb. It is very uncommon to develop a sensitivity or intolerance to buckwheat which makes it an excellent alternative to wheat and other grains that commonly cause allergic reactions. Buckwheat groats can be used to make delicious hot breakfast porridge and buckwheat flour (also known as beechwheat, kasha, and saracen corn) can be used to make baked goods. Buckwheat groats contain only 92 calories per 100 grams and are loaded with protein, which makes them an excellent food also for those who are watching their waistline.
Rosehips, the fruit of the rose plant, are loaded with healing anti-allergy nutrients. Rosehips are one of the best natural sources of proanthocyanidins, phytochemicals that inhibit enzymes that produce histamine and can thus help ease symptoms in some allergy sufferers. In addition to that, rosehips are packed with vitamin C. They are also a relatively good source of vitamin E. Rosehips have a tangy taste similar to cranberries and can be eaten fresh or used in jams, pies, soups, and stews. Before consuming rosehips, remove the outer fleshy part of each orb to eliminate the fine hairs they contain.
Provided that you're not allergic to the Linaceae or Linum plant families, flaxseeds can offer you great health benefits. Linum usitatissimum, which means 'most useful', is the botanical name for flaxseeds and an apt description of the power of these little nutrient powerhouses. Flaxseeds have been used to treat and prevent many common ailments and diseases, including cancer, constipation, heart disease, and joint pain. They may also help prevent and alleviate allergic reactions. They are a very good source of selenium, with one cup of flaxseeds providing more than 60% of the recommended daily intake for this important anti-allergy mineral. Furthermore, ground flaxseeds, as well as flaxseed oil, are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A high intake of omega-3s has been associated with a decreased risk of allergies.
#6: Green Tea
Green tea is commonly used as a weight loss aid, but the health benefits of green tea are not limited to weight loss benefits. Scientific evidence suggests that green tea may also be helpful for treating allergies. Catechins, the same compounds that are responsible for green tea's weight loss promoting properties, have been shown to inhibit the enzyme that converts histidine to histamine. To maximize the release of catechins, use loose tea leaves instead of tea bags and let the tea stand for five minutes. Furthermore, research suggests that complementing green tea with a substance high in vitamin C (e.g. fruit juice naturally rich in vitamin C) can make the catechins more available to the body.
Since ancient times garlic has been considered a healing superfood and has been used as a remedy for a wide range of ailments. Research has shown it to be effective at promoting heart health, preventing and treating cancer, and reducing high blood pressure. But eating garlic on a daily basis may also help prevent allergic reactions. The beneficial effects of garlic on allergies are partially due to garlic's ability to inhibit the activity of certain enzymes which generate inflammatory prostaglandins and thromboxanes. Additionally, garlic — especially fresh garlic — contains a fair amount of vitamin C. It is also a good source of selenium, with one cup of raw garlic providing almost 30% of the recommended daily intake for an average adult.
Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, a plant polyphenol that has been shown to suppress allergic reactions. It appears to work by suppressing allergic immunoglobulin responses and inflammation caused by leukocytes. Rosemary can be used to flavor fish, roast meats, and tomato sauces, but also fruits, especially oranges.
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