No more allergies

Amrita Prasad
Thursday, 28 March 2019

Allergies are common in summer, and the best way to get rid of them is by having foods that are rich in vitamins and flavonoids, and have anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties

Summer is meant for enjoying delicious juicy mangoes, ice creams and kulfis, homemade lassi and chaas, summer breaks and vacations, jungle safaris, a visit to your grandparents’ place, a splash in the swimming pool and so on. However, the sweltering heat and humidity often lead to lethargy and illnesses. Talking of illnesses, allergies affect a lot of people during this season. Allergies in summer are caused by factors like dust, pollen, insects etc. Itchy eyes and skin, runny or blocked nose, coughing, sneezing and congestion and, in some severe cases, fever, are some of the symptoms of allergy. You can take antihistamines, decongestants, nasal spray decongestants, eye drops and so on to get some relief. 

While you can always seek medical help from doctors or pop a pill to cure the allergy, the best way to prevent allergies is to include foods that are rich in vitamins and flavonoids, and has anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties that don’t let allergies make you sick in this weather. Isn’t prevention better than cure? 
 
“You can opt for tablets, sprays and injections in case of hay fever, but it is always better to go for natural ways to beat allergies and what better way than eating anti-allergy food? Trust me, it is way more appetising and tasteful than taking medicines,” says Ahmedabad-based nutritionist Jiya Jammwal. 
Regular ingredients like garlic and onion, which are commonly found in our kitchens, also help keep sniffles at bay.
 
“Never underestimate the power of garlic. It has properties that fight allergies and also clear congestion, thus helping you breathe properly. You can either have them directly or chop them into small pieces, mix with honey and consume,” advises Jammwal. For her, onions are magical ingredients that are loaded with quercetin or flavonoids. “Onions contain quercetin, which are natural anti-allergic substances.  Ensure that you eat fresh onion in salads, and raitas, apart from consuming it in the curries that you make,” says Jammwal.
  
All those who think turmeric just adds colour to your food, aren’t aware of its medicinal properties. Did someone just prompt turmeric milk? “Raw turmeric and even dried and powdered turmeric is a great allergy healer. Whether you are suffering from skin rashes, or having a runny nose, a pinch of this yellow powder will work wonders in healing your allergy. Turmeric packs a punch with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and analgesic (pain killer) properties which help beat allergies. Turmeric is also loaded with natural antihistamine properties that limit the release of histamines (a chemical compound in blood that causes itching and allergy) and curb allergic reactions. You can either consume it in the form of haldi-wala doodh or simply make a broth with raw turmeric,” suggests Dr Chayya Upadhyay, a homeopathic practitioner from Kolkata. 
 
Often, we tend to neglect simple ingredients that are easily found around us which are loaded with health benefits. “For example, tomatoes, which are such great sources of vitamin C and even have antihistamine properties, are rarely looked at as healthy food. Tomatoes not only boosts your immunity, cures allergy and colds but also clears your respiratory tract. So make sure to add plenty of tomatoes to your diet,” advises Upadhyay, adding that they are also antioxidants. 

Vitamin C has been known to cure colds, flu and different kinds of allergies, so increase the intake of fruits that are rich in vitamin C. “Ensure that you have plenty of lime, kiwi, strawberries, oranges and guavas in this season to keep yourself safe from hay fever. Do not stop consuming spinach in your diet which has vitamin E that helps reduce symptoms of allergies. Similarly, if you haven’t already started including kale, the superfood in your diet, now is the time as it is rich in allergy-fighting agents and vitamin C,” says Jammwal.
   
Kefir, the yoghurt-based drink, is a rage these days, but did you know that it also helps treat allergies? Upadhyay says that Kefir is a cultured, fermented milk drink. “Kefir has probiotics that simulates good bacteria present in our bodies and helps cure seasonal allergies. Another helpful ingredient is honey. We often use honey in beauty treatments, but they are also great when it comes to keeping allergies at bay, if the honey is pure and has no preservatives in it. Have a spoonful every morning or just mix with smoothies and cereals, and you’ll see the difference,” she concludes. 

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