Are you sneezing, sniffling, and suffering through the worst seasonal allergy season in years? So are a lot of us. Here's a tip for smart allergy relief: Load your plate with foods from the Mediterranean diet to help reduce allergy symptoms. In several studies, people who ate a Mediterranean diet had fewer allergy symptoms than those who didn't. These 6 Mediterranean-style foods may help boost your allergy relief:
1. Fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce is a key part of the Mediterranean diet. Red, yellow, and orange varieties are especially high in carotenoids -- antioxidant compounds that may have anti-allergy qualities, according to some research. A mix of carotenoids works best, so shop for an array of red peppers, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, carrots, squash, cantaloupe, and tangerines.
2. Red grapes. We know -- grapes count as fruit, but this Mediterranean staple is a standout for allergy relief. Grapes are loaded with resveratrol, which, in one study, reduced signs of inflammation in mice with allergic asthma. Red wine also contains resveratrol, but alcohol can trigger nasal sinus symptoms, so opt for dark red grapes or grape juice instead.
3. Onions. This flavorful food is full of quercetin, a flavonoid that may help reduce inflammation and symptom-causing histamine. Don't like onions? Fill your grocery cart with apples, broccoli, and black tea -- all of which contain quercetin.
4. Fish. Another core part of the Mediterranean diet, fish is loaded with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which may play a role in reducing allergy risk. Salmon, herring, and sardines are good sources of omega-3s.
5. Walnuts. These are rich in another kind of allergy-inhibiting omega-3 fatty acid: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
6. Lentils.These savory legumes are a popular Mediterranean staple. They're also high in folate (vitamin B9), a nutrient that reduced the severity of allergy symptoms in one study.
While some foods may help ease allergy symptoms, watch out for others that may aggravate them. Research suggests that alcohol, refined grains, red and cured meats, and foods high in saturated fat and sugar can worsen your allergy symptoms by worsening inflammation, so cut back on these items and choose Mediterranean-style options instead. Your sinuses may thank you.
Get more health tips from RealAge: