Beautiful signs of spring are everywhere you go. Tulips are turning up, poppies are on parade, and before you know it a symphony of sneezes will fill the air.
Seasonal allergies can certainly put a damper on enjoying longer, sunnier days and the return of green to our landscapes. Due to warmer than usual temperatures, pollen season is expected two to three weeks ahead of schedule and is expected to last longer. Luckily some delicious foods, including Pennsylvania dairy and produce may provide some relief.
Quercetin, an antioxidant found in richly colored fruits and vegetables, acts as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory agent without the side effects of allergy medications. Rich sources of quercetin include berries, cherries, garlic, and leafy greens; such as arugula and spinach.
Probiotics, the beneficial bacteria known for improving gut health, has been shown to reduce sneezing, watery eyes, itchy throat, and other typical allergy symptoms.Probiotics can be found in dairy products such as yogurt and kefir, as well as fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, and sourdough bread.
Vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant, has been shown to reduce the severity of ailments involving the lungs, such as allergies and asthma.Citrus fruits, peppers, and leafy greens are vitamin C powerhouses.
*The foods listed above and the healthy recipes below are not intended to replace medications prescribed by a medical professional, but may serve as part of your arsenal against allergy woes.
Find these and other healthy recipes at USDA/What's Cooking?
Grapefruit Spinach Salad
- 4 1/2 cups fresh spinach, washed and drained
- 1 can sliced mushrooms, drained (4 ounces)
- 5/8 cup water chestnuts, diced (5 oz can)
- 2 grapefruits, sectioned and diced
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, low-sodium
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- Tear spinach coarsely and place in large salad bowl.
- Add mushrooms, water chestnuts, and grapefruit.
- Mix together oil, vinegar, grapefruit juice, soy sauce, hot pepper sauce, salt, and dry mustard.
- Toss dressing with spinach mixture and serve.
Crunchy Berry Parfait
- 1/2 cup yogurt, non-fat vanilla
- 1 cup blueberries or strawberries (fresh or frozen thawed)
- 1/2 cup low-fat granola (or crunchy cereal)
Spoon yogurt into glass, then top with fruit and granola.
- Can use fortified soy yogurt in place of yogurt