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Bright & Easy: 10 Recipes To Alleviate Spring Allergies

Bright & Easy: 10 Recipes To Alleviate Spring Allergies

April showers may bring flowers, but also congestion, sneezing, and itchy eyes.

When Mother Nature tortures you with allergies, relieve your worst symptoms naturally by using her best defense to your benefit. That’s right, rather than barely functioning on the chemically induced highs and lows of allergy medication, let your food be your medicine instead. Odds are, you eat a few times a day anyhow, so why not use that time to help your body naturally transition with ease. Allergens trip your immune system’s security alert causing that infamous histamine reaction anyone reading this likely knows well.

Prior to the start of allergy season in your area this Spring, be sure to include foods that are natural immune boosters and antihistimines into your meals. There are many foods that can help with this task. From fish and nuts, to fruits and vegetable, even garlic, herbs, and algae can help your body defend itself against seasonal invaders.

Here are 10 of my personal favorite recipes for a quick and easy way to feel your best this spring.

1. Berry-Good Kefir Smoothie

Berry Smoothie

    It’s alive! Kefir is yogurt’s oldest cousin. This fermented milk product is super tasty, loaded with 3 times more gut healthy pro-biotics than yogurt. It can be up to 99% lactose free for those of us who can’t handle the lactose. There are also vegan friendly options.

    These probiotics help facilitate healthy digestion. If your digestive system is backed up, your body’s response to allergens is also affected. This recipe is packed with omega 3’s, quercetin, Vitamin C, and minerals that are natural antihistamines sure to keep your immune system ready for the Spring-time battle.

    Great for breakfast, a snack, or anytime. This is one that I make several times a week all year long, but is especially helpful come allergy season.

    Ingredients:

    1-2 cups kefir, 1 cup fresh/frozen: blueberries/blackberries/raspberries/strawberries, 1 apple (quartered), 1-2 handfuls of kale, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, 2 teaspoons crushed flax seed, 5-6 ice cubes.

    Directions:

    Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour. Enjoy! Freeze any leftover to pop into the blender for a quick fix later.

    Tip: Kefir with no sugar added is best.

    2. Spicy Roasted Almonds

    Roasted Almonds

      This healthy snack is high in magnesium and vitamin E, which boost the immune system and provide inflammation reduction. Garlic is a natural antibiotic. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to thin mucus, allowing the sinuses to breathe better while also reducing congestion.

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      Ingredients:

      1 cup whole raw almonds, 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil, 1 clove finely chopped garlic, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, add kosher salt to taste.

      Directions:

      Preheat oven to 350. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, until nuts are evenly and well-coated. Spread the mixture out evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden. Stir/mix after about 5 minutes. Be sure not to burn your almonds. Let cool before eating. Store in an air tight container.

      Tip: For a fun flavor boost, add 2 teaspoons pf honey or 1 teaspoon of agave nectar to the mix.

      3. Miso Soup

      Miso Soup

        Miso and nori, the seaweed in this classic Japanese soup, are proven to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms. Pack them in with garlic and hot peppers if you choose. This meal packs a punch against allergy symptoms.

        There are many variations of Miso Soup. My favorite homemade soup is a variation of this easy to make 15 minute recipe.

        Ingredients:

        6 cups water, 1/2 cup chopped bok choy/escarole, 1/2 cup chopped green onion, 5 tablespoons miso paste (white, red, or both), 1 clove finely chopped fresh garlic, 1 sheet nori (dried seaweed) cut into halved strips.

        Optional: tofu, bonito, baby pinch dried crushed chili, shiitake mushrooms.

        Directions:

        Bring water to a medium simmer. Add nori first and let it cook alone for 3 minutes. Add in miso, then all other ingredients. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

        Tip: Due to their rigidity, shiitake mushrooms must be pre-softened or cooked prior to being added into the soup.

        Caution: Miso is a fermented soy product. Fermentation may reduce allergic reaction, but sensitivities can vary greatly.Those with soy allergies should be aware.

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        4. Chopped Kale & Parsley Salad

        Chopped Kale Parsley Tom And Pepper Salad

          The antihistamine and allergy combatants in this recipe are ALL of them… literally. The energy boost from the vitamin boost, along with the easing of springtime rhinitis will have you back up and moving in no time!

          Ingredients:

          2 cups chopped kale, 1 cup chopped parsley.

          Finely chop: 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper, 1/2 yellow pepper, 1 lg 3 small tomato(es), 1/2 red onion, 2 shaved carrots, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar.

          Directions:

          Add all chopped ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs to taste. Mix together. Enjoy!

          5. Tomato Salad

          Tomato salad

            Sinus headache or congestion giving you the springtime blues? The tomato, radish, and basil combination in this light, bright, and easy dish contains anthocyanins, which will reduce sinus inflammation and congestion.

            Ingredients:

            6 cups tomato medium diced, 1 cup chopped parsley, small bunch (6-10) med sized radishes quartered, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, small bunch of basil chopped, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, chive to garnish.

            Directions:

            Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until well coated. Serve and enjoy!

            6. Broccoli Salad

            BroccoliSalad (1)

              The flavonoids in broccoli, grapes, tomatoes, and onions are a naturally antihistamine. Greek yogurt allows for healthy digestion and the filtering of allergens from the body.

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              Ingredients:

              1 Large broccoli crown (or 2 medium sized) cut into bite-sized pieces, 1 cup quartered red grapes (in place of traditionally used raisins), 1/2 cup chopped red onion, 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes, 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon (ACV) apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon agave nectar or local honey (in place of sugar).

              Optional: 6 strips cooked bacon crumbled. For extra omega 3’s: 1/8 cup almond slivers, 3 tablespoons sunflower kernels, 2 tablespoons crushed flax seed.

              Directions:

              In a bowl, toss broccoli, grapes, onion, and tomato. In a separate bowl, mix together yogurt, ACV, and nectar/honey until consistent. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if using honey. Once mixed, pour mixture over salad and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours. Overnight is best. Serve and enjoy!

              7. Grilled Salmon & Veggies

              Grilled Salmon

                The omega 3’s vitamins and minerals in salmon are more than the classic healthy meal that you know and love. This tender fish paired with asparagus will boost immunity and help combat your seasonal allergies.

                Ingredients:

                4 inch thick salmon steaks (fresh wild caught if possible), bunch of fresh green asparagus, 1-2 cloves finely chopped garlic, 3 tablespoons almond slivers, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, coarse ground black pepper, coarse ground Himalayan sea salt (or kosher salt), juice of half a lemon.

                Optional: marinade for salmon.

                Directions:

                Asparagus: Add a drizzle of olive oil and chopped garlic to a skillet on medium heat until golden. Add in asparagus, almond slivers, salt, and pepper to taste. Make sure to stir/rotate asparagus occasionally. Cook until asparagus brightens and is fork tender but slightly firm.

                Salmon: If using a marinade be sure to let the salmon sit in it for at least 2 hours. Otherwise, coat the grill with olive oil to prevent sticking. You may choose to lightly brush fish with olive oil as well. Apply freshly ground salt and pepper to the salmon. Grill the salmon on medium heat, skin side up until it is slightly golden (about 1-3 minutes), then gently flip. Lower heat. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fish and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes (depending on your preference).

                8. Roasted Broccoli Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette

                Roasted Broccoli salad with roasted red peppers

                  This entire dish is packed (almost every ingredient) with deliciously healthy food to help calm your worst allergy symptoms, delight your taste-buds, and satisfy your hunger.

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                  Directions:

                  Combine grilled chicken, red onions, roasted broccoli, halved grape tomatoes, and fresh herbs to taste with this Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette in a skillet for a hearty and healthful seasonal allergy fighting dish.

                  9. Coco-Nutty Spirulina Balls

                  Spirulina Balls 2

                    Dessert or medicine? Let your senses decide. Spirulina, sometimes referred to as blue-green algae, is a protein rich super-food that provides energy, increases the immune response, and significant allergy relief (of course).

                    Ingredients:

                    20-25 pitted dates, 1 cup walnut pieces, 1 cup raw or roasted almonds, 2 teaspoons Quality Spirulina Powder, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

                    Directions:

                    Place all ingredients (only half of the coconut) into a food processor. Mix until the sticky dough forms a ball. Roll the dough into bite-size pieces, approximately 1 inch in diameter. Roll the balls to coat them in the remaining coconut flakes. Plate and serve. Cover and refrigerate if you’re not serving immediately.

                    10. Green Tea with Local Wildflower Honey

                    Steeped Green Tea

                      Green tea has many benefits, including increased energy, weight loss, and cancer prevention. Green tea is loaded with an antioxidant phyto-nutrient called EGCG that blocks histamine and IgE (immunoglobulin E) which causes symptoms of seasonal allergies. Replace your coffee with green tea 1-3 times daily for best results.

                      Directions:

                      Steep loose leaf or bags of green tea to your desired strength. Add local honey, which can often be found at a specialty store or your local farmers market.

                      Tip: Be sure to rinse loose leaf tea 1-3 times with hot water before steeping.

                      Photo Attributions: Smoothie, Roasted Almonds, Miso Soup, Chopped Kale & Parsley Salad, Tomato Salad, Broccoli Salad, Grilled Salmon & Veggies, Roasted Broccoli Salad with Roasted Red Pepper VinaigretteGreen Tea.

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                      Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                      How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                      How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                      Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                      To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                      Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                      1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                      Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                      Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                      To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                      2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                      Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                      If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                      Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                      3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                      Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                      Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                      4. Feed Your Brain

                      Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                      This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                      Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                      Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                      5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                      According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                      Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                      Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                      6. Write it Down

                      If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                      It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                      You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                      7. Listen to Music

                      Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                      8. Visual Concepts

                      In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                      Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                      Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                      9. Teach Someone Else

                      Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                      Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                      10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                      Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                      So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                      Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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