Skip the Meds: 10 Foods That Help Fight Allergies


Pass on the meds and go for these foods to help fight allergies this season.

A change in weather often comes with more tissues sprawled across office desks and more shouts of “bless you” heard across cubicle walls. But before you reach into your drawer to pass along your handy bottle of Zyrtec to your coworkers, consider a more natural remedy: food.

Local chef Deb Cantrell, owner of health-conscious catering company Savor Culinary Services, has long been a believer in the “food is medicine” mantra. According to Cantrell, certain fruits, vegetables and fish are effective in helping fend off seasonal allergies. Here are some of her recommendations.

Onions, cabbages and apples

Onions, cabbages and apples contain a compound called quercetin, which stabilizes the mast cells that create histamines when your body reacts to an allergen, Cantrell says. Quercetin is also responsible for giving some fruits and vegetables their distinctive reddish-purple color.

“Reddish-purple vegetables in any form are amazing at stopping inflammation in its tracks,” Cantrell says. “If you can’t find that vegetable in that red/purple color, it’s still beneficial (i.e., if you can’t find red cabbage, regular cabbage will still provide you with some of these benefits).”

Bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, Broccoli, and Kiwi

These foods are particularly high in vitamin C, which is a natural antihistamine. Cantrell also recommends cauliflower, cabbage and kale. 

Salmon, sardines and mackerel

Omega-3 fatty acids found in these fish are good allergy fighters as well, reducing inflammatory and histamine reactions, Cantrell says.

Avoid dairy and grains!

Cantrell says all dairy and grain products aggravate allergies by increasing inflammation and triggering mucus.