It's that time of year again when most of us are going to wake up with puffy eyes, a dry throat, congestion, mucus, and many other symptoms that will leave us feeling tired and moody. It is allergy season, and some people will choose antihistamines and decongestants as their go-to method of treating their allergy symptoms. While they work sometimes, there are foods that we can consume that will also help relieve allergy symptoms and you may even have some of them in your refrigerator right now.
Allergies are one of the top major chronic illnesses in the United States, costing around $18 billion a year. Advances are being made in immunotherapy and the management of some allergy symptoms, but we have yet to discover a cure. I believe that one way for us to combat allergies is to pay attention to how we take care of our immune system. Our immune systems are a boundless and complex interconnected network of many different organs, cells, and proteins that work together to protect our bodies from sickness and disease. A healthy immune system can defeat disease-causing germs such as bacteria, viruses, parasites—as well as cancer cells—while protecting healthy tissue. It is important that we understand how our immune system works and how we can help protect our bodies during seasons where we are more prone to sensitivities.
The earth has given us a great variety of herbs, spices, and foods we can use to cure illnesses and treat allergies. We must begin to go back to looking for ways of treating ourselves that will not involve further damaging our immune systems. This is why I am an advocate of holistic treatments to heal and sustain our health. Certain foods can cause sickness while others can cure it. Let's take a look at my top 3 foods I will be using this season that are effective, and that can be consumed daily to help build your immune system and prepare for allergies this upcoming spring season.
Turmeric is truly a superfood. It is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. This active ingredient helps to reduce symptoms like swelling and irritation caused by allergic rhinitis. Try it in teas, soups, stews, and even taking it grounded by the teaspoon.
Combine ginger and turmeric and you are well on your way to building up a strong defense against allergies this season. Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory power food. Reduce uncomfortable irritations such as swollen nasal passages and eyes with this natural anti-inflammatory. It also contains numerous antioxidants for overall wellbeing. You can add fresh or ground ginger to many dishes and juices. Be sure to check out my recipe below for a delicious smoothie with ginger.
3. Green Tea
Green tea is rich in quercetin and also contains an antioxidant called EGCG which reduces the formation of mucus. According to an article published in Science Daily, Green tea has been called the second-most consumed beverage in the world, behind water. It is very popular in Japan and has a growing following in the United States, where black tea is favored. In addition to allergies, it is reported to fight cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and tooth decay.
In conclusion, combining these 3 foods into your daily lifestyle will be beneficial no matter what time of year. Check out my recipe below for a perfect springtime smoothie that's not only delicious but made to keep your body healthy, boost your immune system, and give you a pick me up for a great snack. I like to drink smoothies after my daily workouts or whenever I'm at home needing something healthy and filling to cut my cravings.
Spinach Green Tea Smoothie
1 cup organic spinach
1 cup frozen organic pineapple
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup organic cranberry/pomegranate juice
1/4 cup chilled organic green tea
*Blend well and enjoy!
photo credits: Chef S. Nichole