Guest column on allergy season provided by Lisa De Beer, Muskoka Registered Dietitian at Your Independent Grocer
The last two years have been stressful to say the least, and now, allergy season is here. Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, stress can have an impact on symptoms. According to research, stress can worsen allergy flare ups because stress hormones can ramp up the already exaggerated immune system response. Fortunately, changes to your diet, along with over-the-counter allergy medications, can help to keep some allergy symptoms at bay so you can enjoy the outdoors this season.
One way nutrition can help fight allergies is by maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet. Not only is including more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in our diet great for our overall health, but it also helps keep our immune system’s response strong against allergens.
Here are some of the allergy-fighting nutrients and foods I’d recommend for allergy sufferers:
Omega-3 fatty acids – Need help easing stuffiness? Omega-3s are healthy fats that help to boost your immune system and maintain your overall health. Foods, like salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds, hemp hearts and chia seeds, are good sources of omega-3 fat and can help to lower inflammation and nasal swelling.
Probiotics – If you’re struggling with persistent allergy symptoms, probiotics may be the most valuable addition to your diet. Probiotics are “healthy bacteria” for our gut. In addition to helping maintain gut health, probiotics play an important role in regulating our immune system. They can provide both anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects. Try incorporating more probiotic foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and yogurt into your diet.
Vitamin C rich foods – As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to counteract the body’s inflammatory response to an allergic reaction. Vitamin C might help to reduce common symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and congestion because it acts as a natural antihistamine. Great sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, kiwis, strawberries and broccoli.
Incorporating more allergy-fighting nutrients and foods into your diet can help you manage allergy symptoms. Over-the-counter medication can also provide long-lasting allergy symptom relief. Speak to your local pharmacist to find the best option for your symptoms.
As your local Muskoka In-Store Registered Dietitian, I am here to support you in reaching your nutrition goals. Whether you’re looking for nutrition advice, or help making healthy food choices in the grocery aisles, I am here to help. To learn more about the services I offer, or to book an appointment with me, visit yourindependentgrocer.ca/dietitians. Looking forward to seeing you in the store soon!
Hope you enjoy this dip with a variety of colourful raw veggies this summer season.
- 1 cup (250 mL) PC® 0% M.F. Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) Finely chopped fresh chives
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) Finely grated lemon rind (approximately the rind of 1 lemon)
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) Fresh lemon juice
- 1 Clove garlic, finely grated
- 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) Freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, whisk together yogurt, chives, lemon rind and juice, garlic, and pepper until smooth. Serve with freshly cut vegetables.