Three simple additions to your diet to help reduce seasonal allergy symptoms

(Alexes Papadopoli is the Registered Dietitian at both Brown’s Your Independent Grocer in Stittsville and Loblaws Kanata.)

To say the last two years have been stressful is an understatement. More Canadians have been feeling higher levels of stress, especially since the pandemic, and according to research, stress can have an impact on allergy symptoms. Stress hormones can increase an already exaggerated immune system response, so people with persistent emotional stress may experience worse allergy flare ups.1 With warmer weather approaching in Stittsville, it’s important to find the best ways to manage our allergy symptoms this season. The good news is that nutrition, in addition to over-the-counter allergy medications, can help manage your symptoms.

While we can’t get rid of our allergies through food, we can help our immune systems fight allergy symptoms by maintaining an optimal, anti-inflammatory diet that includes plenty of the nutrients you need can help your immune system’s ability to fight allergies. Plus, the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are great for your overall health.

Omega-3 fatty acids – Diets high in omega-3s can help to build your immune system and maintain your overall health. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are high in omega-3s. A diet high in omega-3s can lower inflammation and may help ease stuffiness and nasal swelling.

Spices – Spices, such as ginger and turmeric, can offer relief for persistent and unpleasant inflammatory allergy symptoms. Ginger, whether fresh, dried, or powdered, can help naturally clear any swelling or irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat. Turmeric has been known to reduce inflammation which may improve allergy symptom severity. Its active ingredient, curcumin has been linked to reduced symptoms of many inflammation-driven conditions. If you are feeling congested, look to add some spices or teas to your diet.

Probiotics – New studies suggest probiotics may be beneficial in treating allergies, so adding these microorganisms to your diet can be valuable in your fight against allergy symptoms. Considered a “good” bacteria, probiotics not only help maintain gut health, but the live microorganisms also play an important part in regulating our immune system. They can also provide both anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects. Examples of foods that can contain probiotics are kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi or yogurt.

As your local Registered Dietitian at Brown’s Your Independent Grocer and Loblaws Kanata, Alexes is also there to support you and can help you improve your overall wellness through personalized nutrition services. To discuss your unique needs, book your free 15-minute consultation with me, or one of my Ottawa Dietitian Team colleagues, at DietitianServices.ca.

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1Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Harvard-affiliated,
https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/is-stress-making-your-allergy-symptoms-worse. ———————

Red Kidney Bean Tofu Curry with Brown Basmati Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) PC® Brown Basmati Rice
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Olive oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) Minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) Each ground coriander and ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) Ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) Cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (796 mL) PC® Blue Menu® Whole Tomatoes
  • 1 pkg (500 g) PC® Blue Menu® Red Kidney Beans – Frozen
  • 1 pkg (350 g) PC® Blue Menu® Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) Salt

Instructions:

  1. Combine rice and 2-1/2 cups water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat
    to low. Simmer until all water is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 5
    minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in separate large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring
    occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño, ginger, coriander, cumin,
    turmeric and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Stir in frozen beans and tofu; return to a simmer. Cook,
    stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and liquid is slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro, lemon juice and salt. Serve over rice.

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