Allergies : 5 Foods to Fight Seasonal Allergies

Goodbye winter, hello allergies! Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, affects approximately 50 million Americans. While some people enjoy the trees and flowers budding and blooming this time of year, springtime means sneezing, a stuffy and runny nose, and watery, itchy eyes for people who experience seasonal allergies.

Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis are usually cased by a sensitivity to pollens from trees, grasses or weeds, or airborne mold spores. Most allergy sufferers have their go-to remedies for controlling symptoms, but the right diet can also provide a good defense. Foods rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients can help boost immunity and curb inflammation in the body -- both of which can lessen symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Apples: Apples, especially their peels, are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. Experts believe that it prevents immune cells from releasing histamine, thus preventing an allergic response. Onions, berries, cabbage, and cauliflower are also rich in quercetin.

Salmon: The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA in fatty fish are found to help ease allergy symptoms. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties and can help bolster immunity -- and when your immune system is at its peak, it responds less to allergens. In addition to salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are great sources of omega-3s.

Oranges: Oranges -- as well as strawberries and red peppers -- are an excellent source of vitamin C, which may be helpful for people with hay fever. Vitamin C has antihistamine properties, and research suggests it may help reduce seasonal allergy symptoms.

Nuts: Foods rich in magnesium, including cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, and walnuts, may also help control allergies. Magnesium relaxes and opens the muscles, and a deficiency has been linked to inflammation in the body.

Hot Peppers: If you're suffering from seasonal allergy symptoms, try turning up the heat. Hot chili peppers, horseradish, and hot mustards are natural decongestants. If you have a stuffy nose, treat yourself to a Thai, Indian, or Mexican dinner -- the spicier, the better! An added bonus? Chili peppers also contain vitamin C.

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