Ah, autumn: the crackle of crisp leaves underfoot, the scent of wood smoke, an excuse to eat all the pumpkin-infused treats you want… and unfortunately the end of lounging contentedly by the pool and the beginning of sneezing your fool head off every time you pass some goldenrod or ragweed.
When you suffer from seasonal allergies, your body is reacting to a perfectly harmless trigger that it mistakenly interprets as invasive and destructive, like the pollen of certain plants. We spoke with wellness expert Dr. Nicola McFadzean Ducharme of Restor Medicine for some tips on how to tailor your diet to your seasonal allergies.
“Immune supportive foods are whole, unprocessed foods that supply the body with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals,” Dr. Ducharme tells us. “Adequate protein is key as proteins break down to amino acids, which provide the building blocks for immune cells such as antibodies.” So boost your protein intake, check. But what about foods that attack your immune system?
According to Dr. Ducharme, refined sugar is your worst enemy when it comes to immune support. “One teaspoon of sugar can suppress immune function for many, many hours,” she says. “It also feeds Candida, a yeast in the intestinal tract that can become overgrown, which can become chronic and very disabling. Processed foods typically contain lots of sugar and saturated fats, which damage the immune system and fuel inflammation.”
So building immune support by increasing protein intake and reducing your consumption of sugar and processed foods are diet guidelines to keep in mind when battling fall allergies. Another factor? Reducing inflammation. Dr. Ducharme recommends an anti-inflammatory diet. “Pro-inflammatory foods are refined foods, red meats, and other foods high in saturated fat,” she tells us. Read on for more specific tips on foods and drinks that can help battle fall allergies.
This golden spice is packed with anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
Red Bell Peppers
Delicious bell peppers are packed with inflammation-fighting vitamin C, as well as immunity-supporting carotenoids.
This article was originally published on August 29, 2014.