Pesky fall allergies are enough to make you crazy when you just want to enjoy the season. Love fall’s orange pumpkins, apple cider, cooler weather, and freshly fallen leaves — but hate the allergies its blooming ragweed brings? You’re in luck! New research shows that a few simple diet and lifestyle tweaks can help stop even the most stubborn symptoms.
Apples prevent sneezing.
This just in from Harvard researchers: The more apples you eat during fall allergy season, the less likely you are to wheeze, sneeze and sniffle. Apples are rich in flavonoids, natural antihistamines that fight allergies by stopping inflammation in your system before it starts. For added protection: Eat a heaping cup of oranges, grapefruit or other citrus daily. University of Arizona research shows that the vitamin C in citrus also stifles histamine — and the allergic symptoms it produces — by as much as 20 percent.
Herbal compresses halt itching.
Eyebright tea has a bitter, unpleasant taste that makes it an unpopular drink — but applied externally, the very compounds that give it that bitterness (tannins) act as a potent medicine that soothes delicate eye tissues, reducing redness, itching and irritation within 15 minutes, say UCLA researchers. To do: Boil one eyebright tea bag (sold online at Amazon.com) in 2 cups of water for 12 minutes to make a strong brew. Remove the bag. Chill the tea, then dip a cotton washcloth into the brew, wring it out and lay the cloth over your eyes for 15 minutes. Repeat once daily.
Stop even severe symptoms with sulfur.
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) — a sulfur-rich compound found in tiny amounts in fruits, vegetables, meat and milk — strengthens sinus membranes, making them resistant to pollen. In fact, taking 2,000 mg. to 3,000 mg. daily in supplement form can tame hay fever symptoms for 75 percent of severe fall allergy sufferers, say researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Look for MSM in health- and whole-foods stores. (The powder form — which can be dissolved in water — is the most economical). Important: Always check with your doctor before stopping any meds you’re currently taking or starting a new supplement.
Peppermint tea helps you breathe easier.
Menthol — the natural compound that gives peppermint its distinctive flavor and aroma — is such a powerful decongestant, it can have you breathing easily in as little as 72 hours if you sip three cups daily, say Stanford University scientists. To do: Place 2 tsp. fresh peppermint leaves, 1 tsp. dried peppermint leaves or 1 peppermint tea bag into mug. Cover; let steep five minutes.
Fish dinners reduce symptoms 25 percent.
Salmon and other oily fish — think tuna, sardines and mackerel — are chock-full of essential fats that strengthen and heal the tissues lining your airways. As a result, you’re far less likely to react when you inhale pollen particles, says Barry Sears, Ph.D., president of the Inflammation Research Foundation. No wonder a recent German study found that eating salmon several times weekly can cut your fall allergy symptoms as much as 25 percent.
Avoid allergies with Apple-Balsamic Salmon.
Hijacked each fall by hay fever? Put this delicious dish on your menu, Brimming with the airway-healing healthy fats in salmon and the breathe-easy natural antihistamines in apples, it packs a potent one-two punch against allergy symptoms.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Tear off 4 (12"-long) sheets of foil. Place 1 fillet in center of each piece of foil; sprinkle fillets with salt. Combine jelly and vinegar; spoon over fillets. Combine apples and leek; evenly divide over fillets. Fold foil and tightly seal in fillets; place packets on baking sheet. Bake 8-12 minutes until fish flakes easily (open packets carefully to check doneness). Transfer from foil to plates; spoon juices over fish and season with pepper to taste. Serve with rice, if desired. Makes 4 servings.