6 Simple Strategies to Fight Seasonal Allergies

It’s that time of year again, when the cool evening temperatures, changing color of leaves and blooming ragweed trigger allergies and send many running for allergy medications to relieve sneezing, running noses, puffy eyes, itchy throats, wheezing and hacking coughs. However, a nutritarian diet – can offer greater relief this time of year, along with other life-long benefits. 

A study of 56 different countries found that populations with higher intake of  vegetables and other nutrient-dense plant foods had lower rates of allergies and asthma, whereas populations with higher rates of tobacco use, trans fat intake, and acetaminophen use had higher rates of allergies and asthma.[1]

Pollens from grass, trees, and weeds are the primary culprits that provoke an allergic response this time of year. The immune system is the body’s defense system against irritants, toxins and infections. In this case, it malfunctions by overreacting to these harmless airborne substances. It produces antibodies to launch an attack, which leads to inflammation and cold-like symptoms.

A nutrient-dense, plant-rich eating style, with a variety of immune-supporting phytochemicals, is required to maintain a properly functioning  immune system. This is the key to fighting off seasonal allergies.

Here are 6 strategies to boost your immune health, tone down the inflammatory response and minimize your discomfort:

  1. Limit your exposure. As tempting as it might be to sleep with the windows open on those crisp autumn nights, you’re better off keeping the windows closed and the pollen out.
  2. Increase your antioxidant levels. High blood levels of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, are associated with a lower likelihood of seasonal allergies in adults.[2]  Higher intake of antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, is associated with reduced seasonal allergies in children.[3] [4]   For these anti-allergy nutrients to be most effective, they should come from a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, not supplements.
  3. Make a green smoothie part of your daily routine. Blending vegetables into a smoothie allows you to pump up your consumption of greens and boosts your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients. This helps to normalize the immune system. Watch how easy it is to make this delicious Got Greens smoothie
  4. Ensure adequate levels of vitamin D. Scientists have found that Vitamin D has biological actions in almost every cell and tissue in the human body. When you are trying to limit your exposure to the outside elements, the healthiest and most effective way is to supplement with vitamin D3. Vitamin D adequacy is necessary to normalize the hyper-active immune response in allergies.
  5. Supplement wisely. Make sure you are not deficient in B12 and zinc and include turmeric and certain supplemental phytochemicals, such as rosmarinic acid and luteolin from the Perilla frutescens seed, may provide additional help for the nose and eye irritation characteristic of seasonal allergies.[7] [8] [9]
  6. Increase omega-3 intake. Omega-3 fatty acids (ALA, DHA and EPA) support the immune system and reduce inflammation. Higher omega-3 intake (primarily ALA and EPA) and blood omega-3 levels have been associated with reduced risk of seasonal allergies in adults.[5] [6] In addition to a healthy diet that includes, flax, chia, and walnuts, I recommend using a clean, algae-derived DHA-EPA supplement.

Scientists have determined that an inadequate consumption of plant-derived nutrients leads to cellular toxicity, DNA damage and immune system dysfunction. When you make the switch to a nutrient-dense, Nutritarian diet you can repair your immune system. Over the years, I have observed hundreds of my patients who improved or resolved allergy symptom in addition to a wide variety of other benefits after following a high-nutrient diet-style. It takes time, but you can slowly reduce the severity of your allergies, and over time achieve complete relief from allergies.


[1] Asher MI, Stewart AW, Mallol J, et al. Which population level environmental factors are associated with asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema? Review of the ecological analyses of ISAAC Phase One. Respir Res 2010, 11:8.

[2] Kompauer I, Heinrich J, Wolfram G, Linseisen J. Association of carotenoids, tocopherols and vitamin C in plasma with allergic rhinitis and allergic sensitisation in adults. Public Health Nutr 2006, 9:472-479.

[3] Seo JH, Kwon SO, Lee SY, et al. Association of antioxidants with allergic rhinitis in children from seoul. Allergy Asthma Immunol Res 2013, 5:81-87.

[4] Rosenlund H, Magnusson J, Kull I, et al. Antioxidant intake and allergic disease in children. Clin Exp Allergy 2012, 42:1491-1500.

[5] Nagel G, Nieters A, Becker N, Linseisen J. The influence of the dietary intake of fatty acids and antioxidants on hay fever in adults. Allergy 2003, 58:1277-1284.

[6] Hoff S, Seiler H, Heinrich J, et al. Allergic sensitisation and allergic rhinitis are associated with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet and in red blood cell membranes. Eur J Clin Nutr 2005, 59:1071-1080.

[7] Takano H, Osakabe N, Sanbongi C, et al. Extract of Perilla frutescens enriched for rosmarinic acid, a polyphenolic phytochemical, inhibits seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in humans. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2004, 229:247-254.

[8] Ueda H, Yamazaki C, Yamazaki M. Luteolin as an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic constituent of Perilla frutescens. Biol Pharm Bull 2002, 25:1197-1202.

[9] Yamamoto H, Sakakibara J, Nagatsu A, Sekiya K. Inhibitors of Arachidonate Lipoxygenase from Defatted Perilla Seed. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 1998, 46:862-865.

5/6/2018 7:00:00 AM
Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a family physician, New York Times best-selling author and nutritional researcher who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods. Dr. Fuhrman is an internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, and has appeared on hundreds of radio a...
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