8 Foods That Help With Seasonal Allergies—and 4 That Make Them Worse

It's that time of year again. Beat the sneezes and sniffles with these foods that help allergies, plus the ones that make them worse!

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Wooden board with fresh sliced pineapple on table
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Helps Fight Allergies: Pineapple

Pineapple is loaded with vitamins and is an allergy-fighting powerhouse. Its secret weapon against pollen is the enzyme bromelain. Bromelain helps to calm down the irritation and swelling that causes itchy eyes and a runny nose. Bromelain can also help with coughing and chest tightness for those with asthma. Learn 10 more health benefits of pineapple.

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fresh wasabi
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Helps Fight Allergies: Wasabi

Calling all spicy food lovers! Wasabi may just be your new best friend. If you haven’t been able to breathe through your nose lately, treat yourself to some sushi with plenty of wasabi. The heat can help to open up your sinuses. Not a sushi fan? Get all the same benefits with these wasabi beef fajitas!

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Red apples
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Helps Fight Allergies: Red Apples

An apple a day keeps the allergist away. Red produce like apples contains a compound called quercetin. This compound is responsible for the red color and works as a natural antihistamine in your body. It helps to calm down the cells that react to allergens in the air. If you’re not a fan of red apples, other varieties can help too.

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Colorful green , red and yellow peppers paprika background

Helps Fight Allergies: Bell Peppers

Bell peppers can be an easy snack on-the-go or the main event for dinner; they’re also packed with healthy nutrients. Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C and the perfect medicine for allergy sufferers. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, so load up on bell peppers and citrus this spring.

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closeup of some spanish grilled sardines in a brown earthenware plate

Helps Fight Allergies: Fatty Fish

Toss some sardines on your next pizza order, because fatty fish like sardines or mackerel can keep allergy symptoms at bay. The omega-3 fatty acids in seafood lower inflammation in our bodies, preventing the swelling in our throats and noses during high pollen times. And allergy relief is just one of the many health benefits of eating more fish.

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Healthy yogurt with mix of berry, selective focus
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Helps Fight Allergies: Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse and makes a tasty, healthy dessert. Because it’s high in probiotics, it can also help you enjoy springtime without the coughing and sneezing. Probiotics help lower inflammation and allergic responses in the body. Next time you’re reaching for your allergy medicine, try whipping up a fruit and yogurt parfait instead!

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Heap of fresh strawberries in ceramic bowl on rustic white wooden background.
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Helps Fight Allergies: Strawberries

Is there anything better than a bowl of fresh strawberries in spring? Well, if those tasty strawberries also keep itchy eyes and runny noses away, sign us up! Strawberries are high in vitamin C and help lower histamine levels. They’re also rich in antioxidants, keeping inflammation down.

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Almonds in white porcelain bowl on wooden table

Helps Fight Allergies: Almonds

Crunchy almonds don’t just make the perfect salty snack; they’re also natural antihistamines. Cooking with almonds adds magnesium to your diet; helping to relax your airway and prevent the allergic response in the first place. Other magnesium-rich foods include nuts like cashews or wheat bran in bread.

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Seasoned ribeye roast
Taste of Home

Makes Allergies Worse: Red Meat

If you’re constantly reaching for a tissue this time of year, it may be time to step away from the red meat. Red meat like beef, pork, and lamb can carry an allergen that causes a reaction similar to seasonal allergies. It could even become life-threatening, so if you don’t feel well after eating red meat, skip the burger and order the chicken.

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Chef cutting block of cheese

Makes Allergies Worse: Cheese

Eating certain aged cheeses like Gouda or Parmesan can make seasonal allergies worse. These cheeses contain histamines, making your allergy symptoms even more miserable. Look for dairy-free recipes that keep the flavor but hold the histamines.

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Bowl of healthy fresh fruit salad on wooden background

Makes Allergies Worse: Some Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit is full of vitamins and minerals, but it could also lead to allergy symptoms. Many fruits contain a protein on their skin that is similar to pollen. When you bite into the skin, it releases in your body and can cause your throat to itch. Luckily cooking the fruit or blending it up in a smoothie should get rid of the problem.

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Sliced bread Ciabatta and rosemary on wooden background
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Makes Allergies Worse: Bread

First red meat and cheese have to go, and now bread? Sometimes life just isn’t fair, but it’s true; bread can make your allergies worse. Eating fresh bread can lead to inflammation, making the swelling in your nose and throat even more bothersome. Be sure to skip the white bread, and check out our low-carb meal plan for new ideas.

Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.