March 26, 2014 -- intro: Spring is here! But although we’re all anxious for nice weather, some of us aren't looking forward to trading flu season for allergy season.
The headaches, itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny nose associated with seasonal allergies are no picnic. Thankfully, there are some non-pharmaceutical allergy helpers out there.
Here are five research-backed foods I found researching my book Eat It to Beat It! Each can help ease your allergy symptoms without a long list of side-effects.
quicklist: 1category: Foods That Help Fight Allergiestitle: Yogurturl:text: Add allergy treatment to the list of amazing uses for yogurt. A study in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy found that people with allergies who consumed Lactobacillus casei (a probiotic found in yogurt) had lower levels of the antibodies that are made by the immune system in response to allergic reactions. The researchers believe the probiotics help balance bacteria levels in the gut, which prevents the immune system from overreacting to allergens.
quicklist: 2category: Foods That Help Fight Allergiestitle: Capers url:text: These little flower buds are bursting with a flavonol called quercetin, an anti-inflammatory compound found in berries, onions, apples, green leafy vegetables, tea, and tomatoes, among other foods. Research suggests that quercetin can block the effect of histamines, making it a handy treatment for allergy symptoms. A recent double-blind placebo-controlled study in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that people who took 100 mg of quercetin saw reduced allergy symptoms after eight weeks.
quicklist: 3category: Foods That Help Fight Allergiestitle: Green Teaurl:text: Green tea is rich in allergy-busting quercetin, but it 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.
quicklist: 4category: Foods That Help Fight Allergiestitle: Stinging Nettleurl:text: This perennial herb can inhibit the inflammation that leads to hay fever. A study in the journal Phytotherapy Research suggests that nettle can block histamine production, causing a reduction in the pro-inflammatory responses that cause allergic reactions.
Dave Zinczenko, ABC News nutrition and wellness editor, is a New York Times No. 1 bestselling author. His latest book, "Eat It to Beat It!" is full of food swaps, meal plans and the latest food controversies.