NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The viral video of a massive pollen cloud in New Jersey only confirmed the thought that this year has already been one of the worst allergy seasons on record.
But could you be making your symptoms worse without even knowing it?
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, some foods can help alleviate allergies while others can make them even worse.
Pineapple can actually help ease sufferers’ crippling allergy symptoms.
“Pineapple has vitamin B and vitamin C and it also has Bromelain, which is an enzyme that helps with the allergy reaction,” Dr. Michael Tugetman said.
Sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and runny noses are rampant as allergy season sweeps the country.
“It’s coming early and it’s going to last a bit longer,” Dr. Tugetman said.
Experts say it could last as much as 27 days longer than previous years. The culprit? Warmer, wetter winters like the one we just had can increase airborne pollen levels for a longer period of time, and can even affect those who aren’t typically bothered by it.
But simple changes to your diet, like eating more pineapple, can actually help you feel better according to Dr. Tugetman from American Family Care. Green tea, says Dr. Tugetman, can also provide a big boost due to its natural antihistamines.
Antihistamines work by blocking the effects of histamines, which are chemicals released by the body when it thinks it’s under attack. They’re what trigger all your most miserable allergy symptoms.
Other foods have been shown to inhibit histamine release, including garlic, watercress, and capers.
On the flip side, Dr. Tugetman says stay away from tomatoes.
“Tomatoes are high in histamines,” he said. “And when you eat tomatoes at the same time the pollen count is very high, there’s a cross reaction.”
You may also want to lay off the spicy food.
“We do recommend you eat bland,” Dr. Tugetman said. “Food that is seasoned with fresh spices will actually cause an increase in histamines. so allergy sufferers will suffer even more.
In addition, allergists say you may also want to avoid dairy products which can increase mucus production, sugary foods which can cause more congestion, and highly processed foods which can aggravate inflammation.
“With an allergy, you get an inflammatory reaction in the body,” Registered Dietitian Nicolette Pace said.
Pace adds now is the time to incorporate inflammation fighting-foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and flax seeds.
“We can’t ignore the fact that many times we are walking around completely addicted,” Pace said.
Equally as important to eating right, says Pace, is getting lots of rest.
“An allergy can be stimulated like any other auto-immune disease because of stress,” Pace said.
The dietary changes are meant to be done in conjunction with your prescribed allergy treatments.