Everyone has suffered from allergy in some form or other. Allergy is body’s response to external stimulus. Our body immune system is built to respond to foreign particles. These foreign substances need not be always harmful. Often our immune system’s response is hyper. We call this hyperactivity as allergy. Substance stimulating this response is allergen. Body responds to allergen with antibody protein – Immunoglobulin E or IgE. This IgE binds to allergens and triggers release of organic nitrogenous substance – histamine from protective mast cells and basophils. Histamines are known to be involved in 23 different physiological functions in our body. Histamines are also found in some natural foods, which may to cause hyperacidity or allergy in human. Most fermented foods are histamine containing foods.
These allergens can come from food, air, contact, insects or animal bites. Histamines cause inflammation and irritation in body and results various signs and symptions. Some symptoms of allergies are listed below:
- Nose – swelling of the nasal mucus, running and stuffy nose, congestion
- Sinuses – inflammation, mucus, internal itching, pain
- Eyes – redness and itching
- Lungs / Chest – Sneezing, coughing, heaviness of breath, wheezing, sometimes outright attacks of asthma, choking
- Throat – swollen throat
- Ears – feeling of fullness, possibly pain, and impaired hearing
- Skin – rashes, such as eczema and hives
- Gastrointestinal tract – abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea,
- Food pipe – coughing, problem swallowing, heartburn
Common sources of allergies – What can cause allergy to you need not cause allergy to other. However most allergens are phytochemicals from our natural food – herbs, nuts, vegetables and sea food. Pollen, dust, pollutants and mites are some airborne allergens. Latex, pet hair, feathers, pesticides or certain pathogens are popular contact allergens.
There is no definitive cure for all types of allergies, but some natural remedies may be helpful with either preventing or easing the symptoms of allergies. Airborne allergens cause allergies of eyes, nose and respiratory tracts. Contact or food allergy often results skin allergy. Gastrointestinal allergies are mainly because of food.
Nutrients to prevent allergies
Most medications for treating allergies are anti-histamine in nature. These medications however do have various side effects to our body. Nature has provided us with cure for all. Our food provides us with necessary nutrients to develop strong immune system and fight most allergies.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a proven antihistamine. It works wonder in keeping allergies in control. Some of other health benefits of Vitamin C include its ability to boost immunity, heal wounds, and treat common cold. Consuming vitamin C rich food is good way to prevent hypersensitivity of body.
Vitamin A – Vitamin A helps in controlling allergic body reactions. Food rich in vitamin A help relieve allergic symptom.
Omega-3 fatty acids – They are very important for our immune system. Research shows that people with Omega-3 fatty acid rich diet suffer allergies less. Flax seed, chia seeds are some good source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Magnesium – This mineral plays vital role at cellular level including its growth, development and protection. Magnesium is required for protection of white blood cells.
Selenium - Selenium is strong antioxidant and helps boost our immune system. Deficiency of selenium often results weak immunity which can cause allergy.
Zinc - Zinc is another mineral required for production of immune cells.
Quercetin – Quercetin is flavonoid present in fruits and vegetables which is a natural antihistamine. It helps control release of histamines in allergic reactions. It is useful in inflammatory response in asthama, eczema and some viral infection.
Anthocyanins – These phytochemicals are dark purple in colour and present in some foods like beet, cherries and grapes. Anthocyanins are strong antioxidant and has anti-allergic properties.
Hesperetin/Hesperidin – They are bioflavanones found in citrus fruits which have anti-histamine properties. They also offer anti-inflammatory properties and potential sedative properties. They are beneficial in treatment of allergies.
Home remedies for allergies
Antihistamine pharmaceutical business is multi-billion dollar business globally. But these drugs cause side effects like drowsiness and headache. Hence it is always good to go natural way of treating allergy. Our food offers many home remedy for allergies. So start eating your antihistamines – Natural food. Some natural foods which are natural remedies for allergies are listed below:
1. Apple cider vinegar – It has been traditional used in treating indigestion and allergies. It protects body from allergens, clears mucus and relieves skin rashes. In case of allergy, drinking two spoon of apple cider vinegar along with warm water can be beneficial.
2. Saline solution – Salt water helps soothe respiratory allergies which cause nasal congestion and inflammation. Just sniffing such salt water made by adding a teaspoon of salt and pinch of baking soda in distilled water helps in case of nasal allergies.
4. Ginger – It is decongestant and antihistamine. Its anti-inflammatory properties help in treating allergies of lungs and stomach. Dry ginger powder along with sugar can be consumed in case of food allergy. Gingers works wonders along with honey.
5. Butterbur – Certain phytochemcials in butterbur are believed to relieve asthma and other allergies. Butterbur tea is most common way of consuming.
6. Green Tea – Green tea is very effective antihistamine. Japanese researchers have identified compound which inhibits stimulus of allergens. Green tea helps treat allergic symptoms like sneezing and cough.
7. Peppermint Tea – It helps relieve congestion. It helps clear respiratory tracts and remove irritating allergens from respiratory tract.
8. Chamomile Tea – It has long history of use as anti allergic tea. It has strong anti-histamine properties.
9. Thyme – Thyme also help relieve congestion, and treat nasal and sinus infections and allergies.
10. Wasabi – Hay fever is allergic response of body and Wasabi has been used in treatment of hay fever. Anti-allergic property of wasabi can be attributed to plant compound – Allyl isothiocynate
11. Lemon – Vitamin C rich Lemon is best home remedy for allergies. Regular drinking of a glass of warm water with teaspoon of honey and lemon juice can keep you protected from allergeis.
12. Oatmeal – Oatmeal are helpful in treating hives as response of allergy from insect bite and other allergens. Apply oatmeal paste made in boiling water to hives and get relief from allergy.
13. Turmeric – Turmeric contains compound curcumin which has various health benefits including treatment of cancer. Turmeric acts as anti-allergic substance. Drinking turmeric milk is considered good way to keep away cold and cough and increase immunity.
14. Nettle Leaf – Nettle leaf is a natural antihistamine. Nettle leaf tincture or tea are popularly taken. It is long used as natural remedy for allergy relief.
15. Ginkgo Biloba – This herb contains compound ginkgolide which works well over allergies and asthma. It has been long used in Traditional Chinese medicine.
16. Probiotics – Probiotics health benefits include its ability to regulate immune system and control allergies.
17. Onion – Health benefits of onion for allergies can be attributed to presence of Quercetin.
18. Garlic - Quercetin is also present in garlic which acts as antihistamine.
19. Kokum – People in west India, have been using Kokum juice for its effectiveness over allergies due to bee bite, insect bite, hyperacidity and sun sensitivity. Replacing tamarind by Kokum in food preparation can help reduce allergy.
20. Mangosteen – Mangosteen which also belongs to Kokum family has been used in treatment of allergies.
21. Kale – This food is rich in vitamin A and other phytochemicals and helps in reducing allergic incidence.
22. Collard Greens – Collard greens along with its nutrient profile eases allergic symptoms.
23. Elderberries – They are believed to strengthen immunity, reduce inflammation and allergic symptoms.
24. Parsley – Parsley works as antihistamine inhibiting secretion of histamine.
25. Red Wine – Apart from being an antioxidant, Red wine depending on its source contain good amount of quercetin which controls allergies.
26. Chia Seeds – Loaded with fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids, this super food helps relieve inflammation due to allergies.
27. Sunflower Seeds – Sun flower seeds contain Vitamin E, which works as anti-inflammatory compound and helps reduce allergic reactions in body. It also contains selenium which is equally useful over allergy.
28. Bee Pollen – Bee pollen comprises of pollen packed by bee into honey. While offering various healthy nutrient, they also contains quercetin which makes bee pollen effective over allergy.
29. Holy Basil – This herb has been used in Ayurveda for treating various disorders including allergy. Herbal tea preparation containing basil, ginger and turmeric can keep wide range of disease away. Soil stuck to basil roots is applied to insect bite to reducing the pain in some parts of India.
30. Papaya – Papaya is source of papain, an enzyme which is anti-histamine and treats allergies. Papaya paste is used as home remedy for insect biteres and insect allergies. Papain is also believed to digest antibody generated during allergic response.
31. Licorice root – Licorice root is used in reducing inflammation by hives. It helps build immunity over allergens.
32. Goldenseal – Goldenseal is effective over food allergens which causes discomfort in digestive tract.
33. Devil’s claw- Devil’s claw also helps reduce skin inflammation and treat skin lesions and hives during allergy.
34. Echinacea- This widely used herb is natural antihistamine. It helps reduce inflammation in lungs and respiratory tract.
35. Plantain - Plantain has been traditionally used in reliving respiratory problems and allergy.
36. Reishi – Reishi contains lanostan, that reduces histamine production in body due to allergens. IT is also known as mushroom of immortaliy.
37. Wild Oregano – Wild Oregano contains various biochemicals which works well over allergies and hyperacidity.
38. Saffron – Saffron is great in treatment of stomach allergic symptoms.
39. Pineapple – Bromelain is enzyme present in pineapple which has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. This compound is present in large quantities in pineapple stem.
40. Water – This supergift from nature should have come first in treatment of allergy. Keeping body hydrated keeps histamines and allergens under check. Regular bath washes away allergens from body. Steam inhalation works wonders in relieving nasal congestion and reducing inflammation.
We have shared with you 40 natural foods which are best remedy for allergies. Include these foods in your diet to keep allergy under control. Some other lifestyle changes or practices are also useful and can be used as home remedy for allergy
- Reduce Stress – Stress increases production of histamine in body. Try reducing stress with yoga, meditation and other excercises.
- Nasal irrigation or netty pot – This practice should be done under guidance and can help prevent nasal allergies.
- Pet hygiene – pets are often carrier of allergens which causes allergy in many people.
- Personal hygiene – without this you are prone to many allergens. Bathing twice a day is necessary for people with allergy.
- Dust mite free house – make sure your rooms get sufficient sunlight, use minimal carpets, ensure that no damp zones in your room, if required use dehumidifier or exhause fan.
- Acupuncture – may as alternative medicine for allergy work in reducing histamine in body.