Tasty foods to help busy nurses fight their allergies

iStockphoto | ThinkStock + Scrubs
iStockphoto | ThinkStock + Scrubs

Achoo! Fall allergy season is in full swing…are your eyes a watery mess yet?! For busy nurses who don’t have the time to let sniffly symptoms keep them down and out, foods that help reduce allergy symptoms can be a lifesaver.

Did you know that eating specific compounds go a long way toward reducing the swelling of nasal passages and the production of antihistamines? Check out these tasty foods that can help nurses fight allergies…no more sniffling over your patients!

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in large, deep-water fish, whole grains and nuts. You can also take omega-3 supplements daily to help fight inflammation. Try eating almonds or a trail mix of nuts for a quick break room snack!
  • Curcumin is an ingredient of the spice turmeric. This spice is most commonly found in curry powders; try a curry dish to give your lunch some pep.
  • Gingerol is an anti-inflammatory found in ginger. I love adding fresh, grated (peeled) ginger to stir-fries and chicken soup. Candied ginger is delicious when steeped in hot tea…it’s the perfect substitute for your pre-shift coffee!
  • Oleuropein (aka oleic acid), another anti-inflammatory, is found in olives and olive oil. Make a habit of sautéing vegetables in olive oil, adding it to soups, and drizzling it over your lunchtime salads to get your daily dose.
  • Probiotics fight allergies by providing bacteria helpful to the digestive tract. Probiotics occur naturally in yogurt and other fermented, unpasteurized foods, such as homemade pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi. You can also get them from kombucha drinks: naturally carbonated beverages with a zingy, somewhat sour flavor. Kombucha beverages might take some getting used to (and will definitely, uh, wake up your senses if you down one in the break room!), but they can aid digestion and fight allergic inflammation.
  • The old adage about an apple a day is really true for allergy sufferers. Apples contain quercitin, which supports the immune system, reduces inflammation, and may reduce allergic sensitivity. Quercitin is found not only in apples (especially their skins), but also in chia seeds, onions, broccoli, citrus, and kale.

If you suffer from any food allergies or sensitivities, those can intensify your seasonal allergy symptoms. If you’re not sure, it’s best to avoid the most common food triggers (dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, wheat, spinach and berries) as well as artificial food colorings and plants in the nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, tomatillos, chili peppers, bell peppers, tobacco and wolfberries), at least until the weather cools down and your allergies disappear…at least for the rest of this year!

Nurses, what do you do to help combat your allergies? Any tips and tricks to share?

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