Itchy eyes, runny noses, scratchy throats, and sneezing all have one thing in common: seasonal allergies. Don’t get us wrong — we love all the new spring growth and seasonal blooms. But, spring plants produce significant amounts of pollen, an airborne plant particle known to trigger allergies. And of the 50 million Americans who experience allergies per year, I think most would agree — seasonal symptoms (such as watery eyes and stuffy nose) are quite the nuisance. The good news? There are simple ways to combat those pesky symptoms with natural antihistamines. With a little know-how, you can use (science-backed) natural alternatives to help ease those allergies.
5 Natural Antihistamines For Allergy Season
#1 Vitamin C
First on the list? Nature’s well-known immune-booster: Vitamin C. Aside from keeping our body in fighting condition, this powerful antioxidant also helps allergies. According to research, Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine helping to reduce inflammation and swelling, along with other common allergy symptoms such as itching, sneezing, and runny nose. Different from antihistamine medications, Vitamin C has little to no side effects and actually reduces the amount of histamine produced rather than blocking the receptors.
The good news? It’s easy to load up your diet with a variety of Vitamin C-rich foods and superfoods to get all your needs.
Here are some common foods rich in Vitamin C:
- 1 cup strawberries = 90 mg Vitamin C
- 1 cup yellow peppers = 274 mg Vitamin C
- 1 teaspoon of camu camu = 144 mg Vitamin C
- ½ cup acerola cherries = 822 mg of vitamin C
- 6 rose hips = 119 mg of vitamin C
- 1 cup raw kale = 80 mg Vitamin C
- 1 medium kiwi = 71 mg Vitamin C
Other Vitamin C-rich foods include: broccoli, grapefruit, cauliflower, dark leafy greens, pineapple, lemons, and oranges.
A natural enzyme found in pineapple, bromelain is another nutrient known to soothe seasonal allergies in a tasty and nutritious way! In addition to aiding digestion and easing symptoms like bloating, research shows the anti-inflammatory nature of bromelain can also help combat allergy symptoms. And of course, thanks to its strong ability to bust inflammation, it’s great at reducing sinus and other inflammation-related symptoms.
To load up on this superfood, try incorporating pineapple into your diet with these ideas:
- Make an inflammation-busting smoothie with frozen pineapple, frozen banana, kale, ginger, coconut water, and ice.
- Chop fresh pineapple and make it into a tropical salsa with bell pepper, lime, cilantro, red pepper, avocado, and red onion
- Add it to a vanilla Greek or coconut yogurt bowl with granola
- Blend it into a yummy marinade for chicken, shrimp, or salmon with soy sauce, garlic, honey, and vinegar
If you try to take the natural route when you’re sick, you’re probably familiar with the flavonoid quercetin. This plant compound is well-known for its ability to inhibit the release of histamine and reduce allergy-related symptoms, thanks to its antioxidant compounds.
So if you’re prone to seasonal allergies and feel symptoms coming on, try loading up your diet with quercetin-rich foods!
Here are some of the top Quercetin-rich foods:
- Red onion
- Red apples
Other foods include: broccoli, citrus, tomatoes, kale, Brussel sprouts, green tea, asparagus, and coffee.
#4 Stinging Nettle
If you’re unfamiliar with this powerful plant, you’ll want to get well acquainted! It’s one of the best natural antihistamines and is shown to be highly effective at reducing inflammation-related symptoms. This includes a runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing — common pesky symptoms associated with seasonal allergies! Similar to other natural alternatives, nettle leaves block histamine production to help soothe symptoms. Plus, it’s rich in a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols, amino acids, and nutrients such as Vitamins A, C, and K.
You can grow this plant yourself or purchase the dried leaves (commonly found in tea form), capsules, or tinctures. Enjoying a daily cup of nettle tea with a drizzle of honey is a delicious and comforting way to load up on this natural nutrient!
You’ve probably seen this popular blue-green plant algae all over Instagram as a trendy superfood. From spirulina smoothies to spirulina-infused energy bites and baked goods, there are endless ways to enjoy all of its powerful properties! While it’s well-known for its impressive protein content (4 grams per tablespoon), it has some notable other properties worth mentioning, especially when it comes to allergies and inflammation! According to recent studies, spirulina helps boost the immune system and reduce inflammation by inhibiting the release of histamine. Based on modern research, this superfood is highly effective at modulating the immune system and reducing allergic rhinitis and associated symptoms!
Here are some tasty ways to add spirulina into your diet:
- Mix a spoonful into a banana and cacao smoothie
- Add a tablespoon to raw energy balls
- Bake it into banana bread muffins
- Blend it into a mint chip banana nice cream
- Stir it into a glass of water with lemon and honey
Other Daily Habits to Help Ease Seasonal Allergies
Loading Up On Additional Natural Nutrients
While the aforementioned nutrients have science-backed antihistamine properties, there are other nutrients that may offer similar benefits! Though there is limited research to suggest they directly affect histamine production, science suggests these nutrients contain similar properties that soothe seasonal upset.
From reducing inflammation to improving immunity, here are some powerful nutrients to consider:
Adding An Air Purifier
Warm weather and spring sunshine are the perfect excuses to open your windows and doors and welcome fresh air inside! And while it’s a great way to bring in fresh air, there’s a good chance you’re inviting in airborne particles like pollen and dust. In fact, even if you’re not opening your doors, research suggests indoor air often is twice as likely to contain more pollution than outdoor air due to build-up over time. An easy solution? Add an air purifier to your space! This will help filter allergens out of your home and reduce the likelihood of allergies or associated symptoms.
Soothing Seasonal Symptoms with Acupuncture
Did you know that acupuncture may help reduce seasonal allergy symptoms? And, aside from balancing the body and boosting the immune system, acupuncture is incredibly relaxing and a great way to reduce stress. Add it to your self-care list!
Speaking of natural modalities, Neti Pots are a simple and easy way to alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, asthma, and allergic rhinitis. It helps clear mucus build up and removes any trapped particles such as pollen or dander! Best of all, it’s less than $15 dollars and can be done from the comfort of your own home!
Spring Clean Your Space
In addition to adding an air purifier, routinely cleansing your space is a great way to reduce allergens in your space that naturally accumulate with time.
Here are some ways to spring clean your space with simple allergen-friendly tips:
- Wash your bed sheets more regularly (ideally once per week) to remove pollen.
- Remove your shoes when you come inside (or leave them on the porch!)
- Vacuum your space (including all those hard-to-reach places like behind your bed and couch) regularly.
- Use fragrance-free cleaners, detergents, and air fresheners to avoid triggering allergies and reduce unnecessary toxins.
Soothe Seasonal Allergies The Natural Way
If you’re looking for a holistic way to ease seasonal allergies, try loading up on these natural antihistamines. With a little know-how, using superfoods like spirulina, bromelin, Vitamin C, nettle leaves, and quercetin may help you quell those pesky seasonal symptoms. When combined with healthy lifestyle tips like seasonal acupuncture appointments and a regular spring cleaning sesh, you may just slide through allergy season unscathed!