Healing foods for spring allergies
Spring is the greening season and marks a time of increasing sunlight, warmer weather and when nature awakens and begins to flourish. It also marks the season of itchy eyes and sneezing, where there is an increase in the amount of pollen from the outside environment and allergens from our internal environment. This can be exasperated if you’re fond of the annual “spring clean”, freshening our homes from common allergens like dust, mold spores and pet hair but sending our skin, sinuses and immune system into overdrive with all the extra exposure in the process.
Food as medicine
As a clinical practitioner I am a huge believer in the healing powers of food. These are my favourite healing foods to help you through the spring seasonal change:
Garlic is the best superfood you can find. It has incredible antibiotic properties that can help clear mucous and fight infection. The dosage that I recommend is 2-4 grams day of fresh minced organic garlic cloves (each clove is approximately 1 gram). The antibacterial properties of garlic are attributed to the active constituent Allicin, which has been proven to be exhibit antibacterial activity against a wide range of bacteria.
Found in high amounts in foods such such as citrus, papaya, kiwi fruit and kakadu plum to help treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies, vitamin C has been proven in clinical trial to be an effective anti-histamine. My favourite food sources of Vitamin C is the kakadu plum, which is native to Australia that is thought to contain 1,000-5,300 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams. This is up to 100 times the Vitamin C found in an orange. Add it to your smoothies to reap its amazing benefits!
If you suffer from sinus inflammation, pineapple is the fruit for you. Recent studies show the that bromelain, an extract from the pineapple plant is has demonstrated to show anti-inflammatory properties.
Natural salt water gargle
Good quality salt is anti-catarrhal (anti-mucus) and a natural anti-histamine. It is effective for dry coughs and contains many electrolytes and is fortifying to the immune system. Gargling salt water has recently been shown to help prevent upper respiratory infections in healthy people. This is a simple, cost effective, natural remedy. Add half a teaspoon of natural salt to a glass of warm water. Stir to dissolve and gargle.
Chicken soup is a wives’ tale with substance! It may help to relieve cold symptoms by acting as an anti-inflammatory, inhibiting the movement of neutrophils (immune system cells that participate in the body’s inflammatory response). It also temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus, possibly helping to relieve congestion and limiting the amount of time viruses are in contact with the nose lining. It is also high in absorbable minerals that support recovery, is a digestive aid and is rich in love and care. A wholesome chicken or bone stock is a rich source of gelatin, amino acids in particular glycine and minerals that are easy to absorb, healing on the guy and boost the immune system.
Organic herbs and spices
Spice up your meals with some organic fresh herbs and spices, adding flavour, taste and healing properties to your cooking. Incorporate anti-inflammatory and immune boosting spices to each meal such as cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and hot chili. For a simple decongestant, add chili and ginger to teas, broths, soups, salads and even your smoothies. Stock up on your immune boosting herbs like garlic, thyme, oregano and sage. These natural herbs and spices aid in mucous breakdown and have antimicrobial properties.
My favourite herbs and spices to incorporate to help with spring allergies are:
- Thyme: traditionally used for its antimicrobial properties, and fantastic to add to a sore throat gargle.
- Ginger: for its anti-inflammatory therapeutics. It’s also incredibly warming and can help clear a spring, foggy head!
- Chili: as a decongestant that can aid the breakdown of mucous
Sip your way to health this spring with organic herbal teas. Drinking therapeutically crafted herbal teas can help provide symptomatic relief of seasonal allergies. My top herbs to incorporate in teas include:
- Elderflower: for its anti-catarrhal properties to help treat a runny or stuffy nose.
- Eyebright: as a tonic for the upper respiratory system this herb is anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory and a mucous membrane tonic.
- Chamomile: a fantastic herb for the upper respiratory system traditionally used for its anti-catarrhal, antimicrobial and anti-allergic properties.
- Nettle: A very nutritive rich herb used for its astringent properties, that can assist with inflammation.
Liked this? Read these!
Got something to say? Get it off your chest here
The Juice Daily is a Fairfax Media owned website