Ask the Expert: What Foods Will Prevent Spring Allergies?

Seasonal allergies come and go but changing your diet can bolster your immunity and improve your overall heath over time.
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Seasonal allergies come and go but changing your diet can bolster your immunity and improve your overall heath over time.
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I get bad spring allergies. Can I reduce symptoms through diet?

You can help bolster your body’s defenses—and minimize symptoms—by eating foods that increase “good” bacteria in your gut. Some research shows that good gut microbes support a healthy inflammation response by signaling your immune system to attack only harmful pathogens, rather than overreact to particles like pollen and dust. Start by incorporating fermented foods like miso, kimchi or sauerkraut, and kombucha into your diet to help build your good gut bacteria.

To keep “bad” bacteria from prospering in your gut, eliminate sugar­-containing foods, such as refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, sugary cereals), processed foods, and alcohol (like beer and wine). The reason: Sugars feed bad bacteria and suppress the good kind. And consider cutting back on dairy, which can worsen allergy-­induced congestion for some people.

--Alcacla Young, RD, Austin, Texas

See also Calming Yoga For Allergies