Vitamin C & Seasonal Allergies

Spring is in the air and so are billions of allergens to make your life just miserable enough to where you start to become afraid of the spring flowers instead of enjoying them. There is not much to do for seasonal allergies other than lessen the symptoms and lessen your exposure to them. Check out my earlier post about some things I do naturally for my seasonal allergies. I still do have a nose spray and during my worst times of year, I do take medication. But is there anything you can change in your diet that can help?

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
Seasonal Allergy Foods

One thing to keep in mind is when your body has an allergic reaction it causes inflammation. Whether that is in your sinuses, your ears, your mouth, your throat, your skin, your lungs… it’s inflammation and the reaction of histamine. That inflammation is what starts to cause congestion, makes your allergy reaction worse, and can lead to infections. The best thing I can recommend is eating anti-inflammatory foods and foods that help to build up your immune system. Main thing to know about anti-inflammatory foods is to keep it whole. Things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lean proteins, as well as foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Things to avoid would be fried foods, processed foods, dairy, and things that are high in processed sugar like sodas, even some juices. And of course, avoid any food allergies you might have. I usually try to stay away from my food allergies, no matter how small of a reaction I might have to them, during my worst seasons.

However, the main nutrient we are going to be talking about today, is Vitamin C.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, but did you know it’s also an antihistamine? Not only does this vitamin keep your immune system and cells in shape, it fights off infection, and it also helps with your bodies overreacting histamine reaction. It prevents the secretion of histamine by white blood cells and increases its detoxification.

There have been studies showing how when we are stressed one of the many chemicals and hormones that are released, is histamine. There has been evidence that taking in large doses of vitamin C, they saw an increase of histamine leaving the system and decreasing in the blood. Some people have noticed a decrease in allergy symptoms by taking 1,000 – 2,000 mg a day of Vitamin C on a regular basis.

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin so it is in and out of the body within 6 hours. So taking vitamin C in doses throughout the day would be beneficial.

Eating foods high in vitamin C is also beneficial and not just taking supplements. Foods that are high in vitamin C also have other antioxidant bioflavonoids such has quercetin (another antihistamine) that help the body to absorb vitamin C. It is important to note that oxygen and heat can diminish vitamin C, so it’s best to prepare and eat these foods immediately and raw. For instance, buying orange juice will have some vitamin C, but freshly juicing oranges for a glass of OJ would be more beneficial. (If you watch your blood sugar, eating oranges with the fiber of the pith, or the white part, will help to slowly digest the sugar and would keep your blood sugar more balanced.)

Here are a list of foods high in vitamin C. You might be surprised to know that oranges are not even in the top 3!

Photo by Adam Śmigielski on Unsplash
Foods High In Vitamin C
  • Guava | 377 mg per 1 cup
  • Bell Peppers | 190 mg per cup
  • Kiwi | 167 mg per cup
  • Strawberries | 98 mg per cup
  • Oranges | 96 mg per cup
  • Papaya | 88 mg per cup
  • Broccoli | 81 mg per cup
  • Tomato | 55 mg per cup
  • Kale | 53 mg per cup
  • Snow Peas | 38 mg per cup

Although it might be hard to get to 2,000 mg of vitamin C a day through the foods you eat, you can incorporate them into your meals and snacks to ensure that any vitamin C supplement you might be taking has a good chance of being absorbed.

Bottom Line
  • If you experience seasonal allergies, try to increase your vitamin C intake during this time, and possibly on a regular basis to help with your reaction and to help decrease the chance of infections.
  • Because vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin it is in and out of the body relatively quickly, so taking small doses throughout the day is the best.
  • Eating foods high in vitamin C also helps vitamin C to be absorbed and also has other anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine benefits.

Stay well my friends!

 


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