Five Foods that Help Fight Springtime Allergies

by Patricia Dean-Escoto


When it comes to keeping the sniffles and runny nose of spring allergies at bay, maintaining a healthy diet can be just as effective as your over-the-counter medications.  Our immune system is our first line of defense against potential invaders and is designed to help us ward off any threats that may compromise our health.

Allergies cause inflammation of the tissues lining the nose and throat, so eating foods that are high in antioxidants and those that fight inflammation can provide us with a great amount of relief.


Nuts are one good choice. Not only are they a health snack, they are also high in both magnesium and vitamin E.   Magnesium protects against the wheezing that accompanies asthma, and vitamin E boosts immunity while also protecting the body from free radicals, which cause tissue damage and inflammation.   Researchers are particularly looking at the high selenium content contained in Brazil nuts and their role in reducing allergies and inflammation.[1]

When selecting and storing nuts, you should choose ones that are plump and crisp.  Avoid nuts that are discolored or musty smelling which could be an indication of mold.  Nuts can be stored in airtight containers, where they will last for one to two months.


Omega-3 fatty acids in seafood have natural anti-inflammatory effects that boost the immune system.  Eating more oily fish – the fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and tuna all contain omega 3 fatty acids that may reduce inflammation and severity of symptoms.

Studies show that the omega 3 essential fatty acids especially, can greatly reduce inflammation in the nasal passages and open the airways to enable better breathing capacity.[2]

Some safety concerns regarding fish include: danger of chemical contamination due to mercury and pesticides.  It is best to consume fish that is wild-caught as opposed to farm raised as this can cut down on their exposure to pesticides.

Red Grapes

The skin of red grapes contains flavonoids that are high in antioxidants and resveratrol — an anti-inflammatory compound the plant produces as a self-defense against environmental stressors.

Studies have shown that eating foods high in antioxidants help reduce inflammation throughout the body.  Fresh grape skin contains about 5  to 10 milligrams of resveratrol per serving.[3]

Grapes due not ripen after they are harvested, so you should choose ones that well colored and firmly attached to the stem.  Storing them in the refrigerator can preserve the freshness of grapes.

Green Tea

We have all heard about the many benefits of this ancient brew.  Used for more than 5,000 years as various tonics, the benefits of green tea cannot be overstated.  This tea provides significant health benefits due to its high concentration of polyphenols in the form of flavonoids.

These compounds make green tea one of the more potent antioxidants around.  Like apples, green tea also contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant that has been shown to decrease the creation of mucus, according to a study published in American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy.[4]

There are seven main forms of green tea which include:  Sencha (the most popular), Dragon well, Macha, Young hyson, Hyson, Pinhead gunpowder, and gunpowder.   Whichever you choose, they should be stored in tightly-sealed container and stored away from light, heat and moisture.


It turns out an apple a day actually can, not only keep the doctor away, but your allergies as well.  Apples are rich in Quercetin — a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties and are an excellent source of vitamin C, pectin, and potassium.   In more than eighty studies, apples were consistently shown to be associated with a reduced rate of asthma.[5]

Much of the benefits of apples come from the peels, which are packed with antioxidants called polyphenols thought to prevent cellular damage.  In another study conducted in the United Kingdom, 1,500 adults were surveyed on their eating habits.  Those who ate at least two apples each week had a 22 to 32% lower risk of developing asthma than those who ate less of the fruit.[6]

When purchasing apples, it is strongly suggested that organic is the way to go.  According to the Environmental Working Group ( ), conventionally-grown apples are high on the list of fruits containing large levels of pesticides.


[1] Kannamkumarath, S. S., K. Wrobel, , et. Al.  “HPLC-ICP-MS Determination of Selenium Distribution and Speciation in Different Types of Nut.”  Anal Bioanal Chem 2002;373 (6): 454-460.

[2] Okamoto M, Misunobu F, Ashida K, et al. Effects of dietary supplementation with n-3 fatty acids compared with n-6 fatty acids on bronchial asthma. Int Med. 2000;39(2):107-111

[3] Murray, Michael N.D., et al.  “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods” Atria Books. New York. 2005

[4] Chang, JH, et al. Dietary polyphenols affect MUC5AC expression and ciliary movement in respiratory cells and nasal mucosa. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy. 2010; 24, 59-62.

[5] Boyer, J., and R. H. Liu. “Apple Phytochemicals and Their Health Benefits.” Nutr J 2004;3(1):5.

[6] Boyer, J., and R. H. Liu. “Apple Phytochemicals and Their Health Benefits.” Nutr J 2004;3(1):5.

(Patricia Dean-Escoto is a certified nutrition consultant and breast cancer survivor.  She holds a master’s degree in education and has more than 20 years of experience working in both the field of education and healthcare.  In 2006, after being diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, Patricia returned to school to study nutrition and completed studies at Bauman College for her certification as a nutrition consultant. Recently, she hosted a year-long radio show called Pathways to Healing on the Voice America network where she interviewed experts in the field of health and wellness.  Patricia is author of ‘The Top Ten Superfoods for Preventing Breast Cancer’ and  creator of the My Breast Cancer Advocate app which is designed to assist those who are newly diagnosed with or recovering from breast cancer.  Her company, Pathways2healing, works exclusively with cancer patients in the area of nutrition and exercise.  She lectures both locally and nationally on the topic of nutrition and cancer prevention.)

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4 Responses to “Five Foods that Help Fight Springtime Allergies”

  1. On behalf of Patricia and Book Marketing Services, I would like to thank you for hosting Patricia today on Health on a Budget. She is honored to be here. If anyone has any questions and/or comments they would like to share with Patricia, please leave them in the comment box. Patricia will be by later in the day to respond to everyone.
    Patricia has developed a MY BREAST CANCER ADVOCATE which is an interactive tool designed to act as an advocate for newly diagnosed or recovering breast cancer patients. For more details, please visit Patricia’s website:
    Patricia is having a giveaway which is available for you to enter between April 7th and May 18th. First prize is a $35 Amazon gift card, autographed copy of Patricia’s “The Top Ten Superfoods for Preventing Breast Cancer” and reimbursement on My Breast Cancer Advocate App download. Enter to win one of three prizes by clicking her: .
    Patricia’s next stop on her tour is on Wednesday, April 16th. She will be the guest of Miracle Survivors Please join her there.
    To your health!

  2. Hi Satish,

    Thank you for hosting my post today. I enjoy reading your blog and I’m inspired by the work you do!

    To Your Health,

  3. thanks

    Great article, lots of knowledge I got.

    I tried nuts already. Fish should be okay too.

    But for the apple, I only eat the green apple only. I may need to turn my grapes into red compare what I bought before. I like grapes a lot. But the only thing I consider to buy is how its taste, but now the color also would be my better factor.

    Green tea? Never tried before..will get into it

    very inspired article for me..thanks

  4. Hi Syed,

    Thanks for posting. You will find green tea one of the most beneficial things you can drink for your health. Please try it.

    Patricia Dean-Escoto