Nasal congestion is an unpleasant, yet common allergy symptom for many of the roughly 50 million Americans living with allergies. Professional allergy diagnosis can help you find long-term relief from allergies by determining the source, but you can make changes at home to provide temporary relief from your symptoms. One way to temporarily relieve your congestion caused by allergies and prevent the buildup of excess mucus is by adding certain foods to your diet. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties that are high in antioxidants can help your body flush out excess mucus and prevent more from building up. Here are six foods to help keep allergy related congestion at bay:
1. Snack on pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that can help relieve inflammation, as well as magnesium, which reduces inflammation by helping relax blood vessels. Both of these nutrients can help reduce sinus swelling caused by allergies, allowing mucus to drain better, preventing congestion. Sprinkle the seeds on salads, bake them into bread, or snack on them on their own to take advantage of their anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Savor some pineapple.
This sweet and tangy tropical fruit is not only packed with vitamin C but bromelain as well. Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples known for its ability to help break up excess sinus mucus and reduce the production of mucus often caused by allergies. Drink pineapple juice, grill the rings for a nice side dish or enjoy the fruit alone or in salads to help relieve allergy congestion.
3. Enjoy grapefruit.
This tart citrus fruit is known for its cholesterol-fighting properties, but its high salicylic acid content also helps thin mucus and reduce inflammation caused by allergies. Salicylic acid contains the same anti-inflammatory properties as aspirin, and its high PH levels help break down the proteins in mucus. This fruit’s sharp tang isn’t for everyone, so try mixing grapefruit juice or fruit with the sweeter pineapple to combine their allergy-related congestion-fighting abilities.
4. Add in onions.
This pungent vegetable does more than make your eyes water as you slice it. Onions are high in quercetin, a flavonoid that helps improve respiratory function by reducing inflammation and acting as a natural antihistamine to fight allergic responses. Finely slice raw onions to add a bite to salads, or chop and add to roasts and stews.
5. Go for ginger.
With a long-standing reputation as a health food, ginger root has the anti-inflammatory properties to support its popularity. Sauté fresh ginger with sliced onion, chopped vegetables and meat for a healthy meal that can help fight inflammation caused by allergies. Alternatively, you can inhale the steam while sipping hot ginger tea to help thin mucus.
6. Have honey (but not for the reasons you’re thinking).
The idea that raw local honey can work as a natural immunization against pollen allergies comes from a misunderstanding of how honey is made. Honey is made from plant nectar, not pollen though unfiltered raw honey can contain traces of pollen bees pick up, which can actually worsen allergies. Furthermore, the pollen in the air that irritates your allergies and causes congestion is rarely from flowering plants bees frequent. These plants’ pollen is too heavy to stay airborne and invade your sinuses, which is why they need bees’ help.
While raw honey is not a natural immunization against allergens, honey that has been filtered to remove irritants has a natural anti-inflammatory effect that can help reduce irritation and swelling. Use honey to sweeten your tea, spread on toast, or drizzle over your oatmeal at breakfast.
Adding these inflammation and mucus fighting foods to your diet can help provide temporary relief from the pressing discomfort of congestion caused by allergies. These foods can temporarily help relieve your allergy symptoms, but to treat the source, you must first undergo allergy testing. If you’re ready to stop dealing with your symptoms and treat the source of your allergies, make an appointment with Dr. Pasha today!