Chihuly Gardens in Seattle
An inordinate amount of people seem to be suffering from allergic and asthmatic symptoms this month. Is there anything to be done about them besides taking antihistamines? There’s increasing evidence that foods, internal triggers like stress, and exercise play a role. Let’s start with good foods to eat for allergies:
- Bone broths—especially homemade chicken broth
- Cruciferous vegetables—broccoli, arugula, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, radishes, collard greens and brussel sprouts
- Chili pepper
- Curcumin (substance contained in turmeric)
- Nuts and seeds
- Onions and garlic
There are also foods that seem to trigger symptoms:
- Citrus fruits
- Dairy products
- Dyes and preservatives
- Tap water
So what you can you do?
- Take in vitamin D. People with more severe asthma may have low vitamin D levels and replenishing vitamin D levels may improve asthma. Fish such as salmon, milk and eggs all contain vitamin D. Even spending a few minutes outdoors in the sun can increase vitamin D levels, but using sunscreen can filter out those beneficial rays. Balance your unprotected time in the sun with the common sense need to use sunscreen.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. They’re a good source of antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamins C and E which may help control lung swelling and irritation (inflammation) caused by cell-damaging chemicals known as free radicals.
- Avoid sulfites. Sulfites can trigger symptoms in some people with moderate to severe asthma. Used as a preservative, sulfites can be found in wine, dried fruits, pickles, fresh and frozen shrimp, and some other foods.
- Avoid allergy-triggering foods. Children with food allergies have a higher chance of having asthma than those who don’t. In children with both conditions, the asthma tends to be more severe. In general, allergic food reactions rarely trigger asthma attacks. But a few studies suggest that wheezing accompanies other signs of these reactions more often than previously thought.
- Eat to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can worsen asthma. Even losing a little weight can improve your symptoms. Learn how to eat right to maintain a healthy weight over the long term.
As the trees, shrubs and flowers bloom, think about how your system may be reacting not only to nature, but also to what you’re eating. Try eliminating one food at a time that you think may be contributing to the problem, and see if symptoms subside. This may not be a definitive test because it will be complicated by various environmental triggers but you may find some relief by eliminating certain foods that trigger symptoms.
How about exercise? Here are things you can do to exercise safely and comfortably even if you have allergies and exercise-induced asthma:
Check out http://www.webmd.com/asthma/keep-exercising#2 for more details.