Foods and Seasonal Allergies: Common Questions Answered

February 12, 2016 12:28 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

1) How can fatty fish help with allergy relief?

-Fatty fish (those especially high in omega-3 fatty acids) can be hugely beneficial to dealing with seasonal seafood-809864_1280allergies.  The reason behind this is fairly simple and really comes down to our terrible standard American diet.  We all know that our American diet is insanely unhealthy.  One of these reasons is because our diets are high in omega-6 fatty acids.  Omega-6 fatty acids run down an inflammatory pathway, thereby creating systemic inflammation.  Omega-3 fatty acids run down the anti-inflammatory pathway.  Right now, we eat so poorly that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is approximately 40:1, creating wide inflammation within most Americans.  Ideally. that ratio should be closer to 4:1.  Fatty fish have a very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and by supplementing a good fish oil into your diet, you can decrease that omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio.


2) Why do foods such as broccoli, which contain quercetin, are considered ideal for allergy treatment?

-Healthy foods, like broccoli, which is in the brassica family, have many great benefits to them and quercetin is just one.  Quercetin has great properties to them, including anti-inflammatory and vegetables-673181_1280anti-histamine qualities.  Histamine is what causes that itchiness when those seasonal allergies come along.  Seasonal allergies are an immune response to a foreign invader in your system.  This immune response instructs basophils and mast cells to release their histamine, creating that itchy feeling you get in your nose, eyes, and skin.  Seasonal allergies also create an inflammatory response in your body which, as mentioned before, is why the fatty fish oil high in omega-3 fatty acids is beneficial.  Quercetin has that anti-inflammatory quality to it as well.


3) How do fruits rich in vitamin C help keep allergy symptoms at bay?

orange-214873_1280-We can get only so much vitamin C from fruits for it to be beneficial enough to notice a difference when it comes to seasonal allergies.  Supplementing vitamin C to bowel tolerance is the way to go.  Vitamin C also acts as an anti-histamine as well as an anti-inflammatory.  It’s great for strengthening the immune system as well.


4) How can the consumption of garlic help decrease allergic reactions during allergy season?

garlic-1144921_1280-Garlic is a natural anti-microbial and can ward off many illnesses.  In fact, garlic, along with horseradish and a few other ingredients, was used in the 1300s to ward off plague.  Garlic can help control bacteria, virus, fungal, and worm infections.



5) Can probiotics and bacteria found in yogurt really reduce reactions to pollen?

-Our guts are filled with bacteria, preferably the beneficial kind.  This gut flora is one of the main factors in dictating whether we have healthy digestive systems or not.  When we take too many antibiotics, we kill off the good bacteria as well as the bad.  It’s also important to note that 70% of the immune system lives in the gut, so by having a healthy digestive system, we protect our beneficial gut bacteria as well as protect our immune system.  We are so inundated with antibiotics nowadays that many of our gut bacteria is not in a healthy state, thereby rendering our immune systems less effective than it could be.  By supplementing probiotics, we can repopulate our guts with the beneficial bacteria, thereby increasing the strength of our immune system’s ability to deal with seasonal allergies.  Everyone should be taking probiotics these days, especially if you have a history of antibiotic use.


6) Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, how can this be beneficial for someone with allergies?

anti-inflammatory-743044_1280-Turmeric might be one of the most beneficial spices/roots on the planet.  It has a long list of benefits, and one of those is as an anti-inflammatory.  Like I mentioned above, most Americans have systemic inflammation due to their diets.  And, although few clinical trials have been shown benefits (no one is willing to put money into a study if they can’t make money off of it…and there isn’t much money to be made off of turmeric), I’ve seen that if you take enough of it, it can be as effective as aspirin, without any side effects. It is an effective antioxidant, it’s anti-carcinogenic, it’s antimicrobial (benefits stated in garlic question), and of course, it’s anti-inflammatory due to the inhibition of leukotriene formation.  It is quite possibly, the most beneficial natural substance on earth.


— Dr. Matthew Brennecke, MS, ND is a board certified naturopathic doctor practicing at the Rocky Mountain Wellness Clinic in Fort Collins, CO.  He prefers using natural therapies to pharmaceutical medication when possible, so as to limit side effects to treatment and sees a variety of patients with a range of chronic conditions.  He can be reached at, at or on Twitter @RockyDocFOCO


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This post was written by Dr. Brennecke

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