Seasonal Allergies: 6 Food Choices To Make You Feel Better

Marion Sereti


January 25, 2022
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Millions of people suffer from seasonal allergies, with allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and allergic conjunctivitis (eye allergies) being the most frequent. In 2015, 8.4 percent of children and 8.2 percent of adults in the United States were diagnosed with hay fever; for this reason, allergic diseases are a big concern.

Seasonal allergies caused by pollen can worsen at particular times of the year depending on whether the source of pollen allergens is a tree, grass, or weed. However, some foods may alleviate these symptoms by lowering inflammation and strengthening the immune system.

6 Good Food Choices For Seasonal Allergies

1. Ginger 

Anti-nausea, pain reduction and anti-inflammation are just a few of the many benefits of ginger and its derivatives well known for so many years. Also, recent research has shown that it may also help with allergies because of its anti-inflammatory qualities. For instance, in a 2016 animal study, ginger was found to lessen allergy symptoms by suppressing the synthesis of pro-inflammatory proteins in the blood of mice.

Ginger's medicinal qualities, including relief from nausea, arthritis, and discomfort, have been associated with gingerols. Fresh ginger contains high amounts of gingerol. In addition, it may aid in drying mucus, making you feel less congested. To consume, you can add a powdered portion of it to baked foods, stir-fries, curries or simply, make a ginger tea.

2. Onions

Onions are an excellent natural source of a specific compound called quercetin. Raw red onions have the highest concentration of quercetin, followed by white onions and scallions.

Research suggests that quercetin has anti-allergic properties that cut down histamine production and inflammation-causing substances. These mechanisms may reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Moreover, our body requires between 5 and 40 mg daily uptakes of this compound.

Plant extract of quercetin is the main ingredient of many potential anti-allergic drugs, supplements, and enriched products. Additionally, this antioxidant is sold on its own as a dietary supplement.

Because cooking reduces the quercetin content of onions, it is advisable to eat them raw. For example, you can try them in dips (like guacamole), salads, and toppings. Onions are the most studied quercetin-containing food; however, they are also found in some fruits and vegetables, including capers, apples, berry cops, tea, broccoli, tomatoes and, grapes.

3. Salmon and other oily fish

Salmon is enriched in omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Both EPA and DHA have presented properties that reduce inflammation, blood pressure, and disease risk factors. According to studies, healthy adults should consume 250–1,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA per day.

Adults should eat 8 ounces (230 grams) of fish per week, according to the American Heart Association and Dietary Guidelines for Americans, especially low mercury "fatty" fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. Strive to meet or exceed this goal to maximize your chances of allergy relief.

More recent studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids help prevent the airways of people with asthma from constricting. Moreover, some seasonal allergies attribute it to omega-3s' anti-inflammatory qualities. Yet, when it comes to adults ingesting omega-3s and allergies, not every study has shown consistent results.

4. Probiotics

Probiotics are "healthy bacteria" that are believed to help with gut health maintenance. They are present in various foods, the most common is yogurt with live active cultures. Probiotics also live in fermented foods and supplements such as kimchi, tempeh, miso, buttermilk kefir, and sauerkraut.

Probiotics may alter the bacterial balance in the intestines to protect the immune system from overreacting to pollen and other allergens, potentially reducing allergy symptoms. They are also an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis, an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways that has become more common in recent decades.

5. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine. Our bodies do not produce Vitamin C on their own nor store it. For this reason, we should consume foods high in this vitamin, ideally every day. Vitamin C is an element that gives our body the ability to fight infections and reduces the severity of allergic responses.

Apples, for instance, contain a lot of Vitamin C. More specifically, red apples contain the antioxidant quercetin, linked to various health benefits, as mentioned earlier.

Other Vitamin C-rich foods:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Chili peppers
  • Parsley
  • Kale
  • Guavas
  • Sweet yellow peppers
  • Kiwis
  • Broccoli
  • Thyme

If you're taking other medicines, check with your doctor or pharmacist first because some fruits can interact with some of them.

6. Garlic

Garlic is an antihistamine superfood that can help alleviate and treat allergic symptoms. Diallyl disulfide, a chemical found in it, adds to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Garlic's rich antioxidant content, quercetin, and important healing oils help stimulate the immune system during allergy flare-ups. This mechanism allows it to fight off histamines better and lessen the intensity of allergy symptoms.

Due to its strong aroma, garlic is also one of the best natural decongestants you can use during allergy season to help relieve sinus pressure.

Foods to Avoid During Seasonal Allergies

According to the Mayo Clinic, cross-reactivity can occur because the proteins in some foods are identical to the allergy-causing proteins in some pollen. As a result, pollen-food allergy syndrome, also known as oral allergy syndrome, causes tingling or itching in the mouth and can lead to throat swelling or anaphylaxis in some people. 

Raw or undercooked vegetables

We often get advice to eat our fruits and veggies raw to stay healthy. However, did you know that certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, and spices might also cause a reaction?

Zucchini, artichokes, and celery are among the vegetables to avoid. Yet, it is possible to prevent a response by cooking vegetables thoroughly.


Ragweed pollen, found in melons like watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew, are known irritants to those with ragweed allergies. The pollen reacts with these fruits to cause hives, itching and, a tingling sensation in the mouth.

Bananas can also give allergic reaction if you are allergic to ragweed pollen.

If you are allergic to birch pollen, you may also have an allergic reaction to apples, celery, and hazelnuts.


Dairy products contain arachidonic acids. These compounds increase the formation of leukotrienes, which is one of the main reasons dairy products aggravate seasonal allergy symptoms. Leukotrienes also restrict the airways (bronchial tubes), making it difficult for air to move through. This narrowing might increase the production of phlegm and mucus, aggravating allergy symptoms.

If you need to eat cereal, try mixing it with almond or soy milk. 


Beer is a known allergen for those suffering from grass allergies. Studies indicate that beer, wine, and liquor contain histamine produced by yeast and bacteria during fermentation. In addition, sulfites, another category of molecules known to trigger asthma and other allergy-like symptoms, are present in wine and beer.


Trying to deal with allergies on your own can be exhausting. For this reason, adding these foods to your diet, or avoiding other, and definitely, speaking with your doctor, you can find the proper treatment for your symptoms.

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