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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
4. Chopped Kale & Parsley 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!
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.
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
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.
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.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until well coated. Serve and enjoy!
6. Broccoli Salad
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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
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
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.
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 Vinaigrette, Green Tea.