Relieves Allergies to Pollen…Dust…Mold…Even Some Foods
The right diet can help relieve your allergies whether you’re allergic to pollen, dust, mold, certain foods or other allergens. And it can relieve symptoms that you might not even know come from allergies—including fatigue, weight gain and depression. The key is to use foods to improve your immune response. Here’s how…
BOOST YOUR T-REGS
Immune cells known as regulatory T-cells, or T-regs, limit inflammation and dampen the allergic response. The cells don’t function properly in people with allergies, which can lead to a host of allergic symptoms.
If you know you’re allergic to something, avoidance is an obvious solution. But many people don’t know what they’re allergic to—or even if they are allergic. You can use dietary changes to increase T-regs and dampen any allergic response.
STEP 1: THREE-DAY POWER WASH YOUR T-REGS
I advise patients to completely give up the foods that commonly aggravate allergies. These include dairy (including yogurt), wheat, seafood, eggs, soy, nuts, peanuts, yeast (found in bread, alcohol, vinegar, commercial fruit juice and commercial soups and sauces) and nightshade vegetables (such as tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes and eggplant).
This is not meant to be a permanent diet. You have to give up these foods for three days (unless you discover that you’re allergic to a particular food, in which case you’ll give it up altogether). Taking a break from likely offenders resets the immune system—it clears your body of potential allergens and lets you start with a clean slate.
For three days, you’ll consume only the soup and the smoothie (see below) that I developed for blunting the immune response (you’ll also drink oolong tea). Have the smoothie for breakfast and a midafternoon snack. The soup is lunch and dinner. Eat until you are satisfied but not too full. Have your doctor look at the recipes to make sure that they are appropriate for you.
Immune Balance Smoothie: In a blender, combine one cup of strawberries, one medium avocado, one cup of chopped arugula, one-half head of chopped romaine lettuce, two tablespoons of ground chia seeds and one cup of brewed green tea. If desired, add one medium banana.
Blend until smooth. The smoothie will become thicker and creamier if you refrigerate it after blending.
If you happen to be allergic to any of the ingredients, just leave it out.
Immune Balance Soup: This is one of the Galland family’s favorite recipes. Sauté three cups of sliced carrots in three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil for 10 minutes. Add one cup of chopped parsley, two cups of chopped scallions (green parts only), 12 ounces of chopped broccoli, three ounces of chopped baby kale, one teaspoon of turmeric powder and one-quarter teaspoon of ground black pepper. Add salt to taste. Cook and stir for one minute. Add 12 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add one tablespoon of shredded daikon radish just before serving.
Organic oolong tea: I emphasize this tea for a specific reason. It’s very high in catechins, which are flavonoids that inhibit allergic reactions—they’re even stronger than the compounds in green tea. One study found that a majority of patients with allergic eczema who didn’t respond to medications had significant improvements after drinking oolong tea for one to two weeks. Drink four cups daily (no more) during the Power Wash and a cup or two daily after that.
STEP 2: REINTRODUCTION
After three days, continue to enjoy the homemade smoothie and soup and organic oolong tea as you gradually reintroduce foods from your regular diet—a new food or food group each day. Start with foods that are less likely to provoke allergic reactions such as rice or free-range poultry, and gradually move toward the more allergenic foods such as nuts, seafood, eggs and dairy products, one group at a time. Keep notes about what you’re eating and symptoms (if any) that you experience—including symptoms you don’t typically associate with allergies (see below). This will help you determine whether particular foods—or ingredients in packaged foods—are triggering symptoms.
I’ve found that patients who give up problem foods for at least six months can sometimes eat them again, in small amounts, without having symptoms return. This doesn’t apply to things such as sodas, candies or other junk foods, including commercially prepared pastries. These foods always contribute to allergies (including common dust and pollen allergies) by increasing inflammation and should be avoided.
Important: Consult your doctor before reintroducing foods, especially if you suffer from anaphylaxis or asthma or if you previously have experienced an adverse reaction to any of the foods.
STEP 3: IMMUNE BALANCE
No matter what you’re allergic to, make an effort to eat healthier foods that fortify T-regs. Most important…
Natural folate. Many foods are fortified with folic acid, an important (but synthetic) B vitamin. Natural sources of folate are better for T-reg function. Examples: Leafy vegetables, legumes, peas, asparagus, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
More flavonoids. I believe that many of the inflammatory disorders that plague Americans, including allergies and asthma, are due in part to flavonoid deficiencies. Flavonoids, an important family of plant compounds, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. A Tufts University study found that animals given a flavonoid-enhanced diet had an increase in T-regs and a decrease in Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies—molecules involved in the allergic response.
The flavonoids in tea are particularly helpful. But you’ll get healthy amounts from many different plant foods, including onions, blueberries, sweet potatoes, apples and bell peppers.
Lots of strawberries. Strawberries are the richest food source of fisetin, a type of flavonoid that helps preserve T-regs. Fisetin blunts the allergic response and has been shown in laboratory studies to help prevent allergic asthma.
Important: Organic strawberries, fresh or frozen, have more vitamin C and other antioxidants than conventionally grown berries.
Put parsley on your plate. It’s more than just a garnish. It’s high in apigenin, a flavonoid that decreases the activity of allergy-inducing lymphocytes and reduces levels of IgE. The carotenoids in parsley (it has more than carrots) also are helpful.
Eat seafood twice a week (as long as you’re not allergic). A lack of omega-3 fatty acids can cause or aggravate allergy symptoms. People with allergies actually need more of these fats because their cells don’t metabolize them efficiently.
Broaden your palate. While tea, parsley and strawberries are among the allergy-fighting stars, all plant foods can help balance the immune system and reduce symptoms. I’m a big fan of legumes (such as black beans, garbanzo beans and lentils), along with carrots, sweet bell peppers, spinach and brussels sprouts. Most of your diet should consist of these and other healthful plant foods.
HIDDEN ALLERGY SYMPTOMS
Here are allergy symptoms that aren’t typically associated with allergies…
- Brain fog
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches
- Weight gain