A de­li­cious dessert that can also help tame al­lergy symp­toms? Yes, please!

To ease your sea­sonal al­lergy symp­toms, feast on foods like honey and turmeric, which have nat­u­ral an­ti­his­tamine and anti- infl am­ma­tory qual­i­ties

Better Nutrition - - NEWS - BY LISA TURNER

It’s hard to be en­thu­si­as­tic about spring when you suff er from the itchy eyes, sneez­ing, con­ges­tion, and runny nose as­so­ci­ated with al­ler­gies, also known as hay fever or al­ler­gic rhini­tis. And the “cure”— over- the- counter an­ti­his­tamines that leave you foggy and dried out— isn’t much bet­ter. But these po­tent im­mune­boost­ing foods can help.

Pineap­ple is the best source of brome­lain, an en­zyme that has anti- in­flam­ma­tory ef­fects and can re­duce nasal swelling, mak­ing it eas­ier to breathe. Stud­ies also show that it in­hibits the devel­op­ment of al­ler­gic air­way dis­eases and asthma.

Try this: Grill thick slices of pineap­ple un­til lightly browned, and serve with co­conut ice cream; com­bine chopped pineap­ple, diced red pep­pers, minced jalapeños, ci­lantro, and lime juice for a trop­i­cal salsa; toss pineap­ple cubes with shred­ded cab­bage, chopped mint, sliced red onions, and a light mayo- based dress­ing for a fruity slaw.

Onions are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid with po­tent an­tiox­i­dant ac­tiv­ity that acts as a nat­u­ral an­ti­his­tamine. Quercetin works by block­ing the pro­duc­tion and re­lease of his­tamines, com­pounds in­volved in the body’s al­ler­gic re­sponse, as well as in­hibit­ing other al­ler­gic and in­flam­ma­tory com­pounds. Other good sources of quercetin in­clude ap­ples ( par­tic­u­larly the skin), red wine, ca­pers, berries ( par­tic­u­larly elder­berry), dill, ci­lantro, black and green tea, cit­rus fruit, and banana pep­pers.

Try this: Halve yel­low onions, toss with olive oil, roast un­til golden, and driz­zle with bal­samic vine­gar; sauté onions in but­ter, add beef or veg­etable broth, sherry, and thyme, cook un­til onions are soft, and top with cheese, if de­sired, for a rich onion soup.

Turmeric con­tains cur­cumin, an anti- in­flam­ma­tory com­pound that in­hibits the re­lease of his­tamine, in­hibits al­ler­gic re­sponse, and de­creases ox­ida­tive stress. Cur­cumin has also been shown to in­crease nasal air­flow and sup­port im­mune re­sponse in peo­ple with al­ler­gies. Com­bin­ing turmeric with fat and black pep­per in­creases its ab­sorp­tion and avail­abil­ity.

Try this: Cook veg­eta­bles in co­conut milk, turmeric root, curry paste, and black pep­per un­til ten­der; stir turmeric, ground black pep­per, co­conut oil, and a pinch of saf­fron into cooked rice; add a gen­er­ous amount of turmeric pow­der and black pep­per to eggs scram­bled with onions and smoked salmon.

Ke­fir, a fer­mented milk prod­uct, con­tains pro­bi­otics, which have been shown to treat sea­sonal al­ler­gies and en­hance im­mune re­sponse. In one study, peo­ple who took pro­bi­otics had less con­ges­tion dur­ing al­lergy sea­son, and showed re­duced in­flam­ma­tion in the nasal pas­sages. Other good sources of pro­bi­otics in­clude yo­gurt, tem­peh, natto, miso, dairy- free co­conut ke­fir, and nat­u­rally pro­cessed sauer­kraut.

Try this: Com­bine ke­fir, gar­lic, dill, chives, and a splash of vine­gar for a healthy ranch dress­ing; purée cooked sweet pota­toes and onions with curry paste and ke­fir for an easy soup; stir rasp­berry pre­serves into vanilla ke­fir and freeze for ice cream.

Tuna is rich in omega- 3 fatty acids, which have anti- in­flam­ma­tory ac­tions and can block the pro­duc­tion of chem­i­cals that cause al­ler­gic re­ac­tions. In one study, peo­ple with higher lev­els of EPA, an omega- 3 fat found in fish, had lower risk of al­ler­gies. Ad­di­tion­ally, a higher in­take of ALA, a type of omega- 3 found in wal­nuts, flax, and chia, was as­so­ci­ated with a de­creased risk of al­ler­gic rhini­tis. Try this: Mix canned tuna, wal­nuts, olives, minced onions, and spinach with ke­fir ranch dress­ing ( recipe above); toss pasta with tuna, gar­lic, arugula, and olive oil; top toast with avo­cado, onion, and thinly sliced seared tuna.

Or­anges are rich in vi­ta­min C, which works as a nat­u­ral an­ti­his­tamine. Stud­ies show vi­ta­min C de­ple­tion is as­so­ci­ated with in­creased his­tamine lev­els, and that sup­ple­ment­ing with vi­ta­min C low­ered his­tamine lev­els. Or­anges are also rich in quercetin, and stud­ies show that com­bin­ing quercetin and vi­ta­min C en­hances avail­abil­ity and re­duces in­flam­ma­tion. Other good sources of vi­ta­min C in­clude bell pep­pers, broc­coli, straw­ber­ries, pa­paya, and

man­gos. Try this: Chop seeded or­anges and peels in a food pro­ces­sor, then sim­mer with agave or honey un­til thick for an easy mar­malade; ar­range or­ange halves in a bak­ing dish, driz­zle with honey and cin­na­mon, and bake un­til soft; juice or­anges and kale for a power- packed break­fast drink.

Lo­cal honey may re­duce al­ler­gies if taken at the very start of the al­lergy sea­son. The idea is that eat­ing honey in­oc­u­lates the body against lo­cal pollen that causes sea­sonal al­ler­gies. One study found that peo­ple with birch pollen al­ler­gies had 60 per­cent fewer symp­toms and 70 per­cent fewer days with symp­toms af­ter eat­ing honey with birch pollen. It may also be that honey soothes al­ler­gies via its an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory ef­fects. Use lo­cally pro­duced honey, ide­ally raw and un­fil­tered, for the best heal­ing power.

Try this: Purée ke­fir, co­conut oil, honey, and turmeric for a pro­bi­otic- en­hanced golden milk; stir honey into creamy peanut but­ter, add oats, and form into balls for a sim­ple snack; whisk honey, mus­tard, and olive oil to­gether for a sweet- and- sa­vory salad dress­ing.

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