foods that are bad for allergies
If you have a pollen allergy, you may want to avoid certain foods. Learn about which foods are good and bad for seasonal allergies

Seasonal allergies affect millions of people, with two of the most common types being allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and allergic conjunctivitis (eye allergies). Because most are caused by pollen, seasonal allergies can get worse during certain times of the year depending on whether the pollen allergen is tree (March/April), grass (June/July), or weed (August/September). 

Allergy symptoms can make you miserable, causing sneezing, coughing, runny nose, or itchy eyes and throat. But aside from taking allergy medications, are there foods you should eat or avoid to help with your symptoms?

Does diet affect seasonal allergies?

There are many popular diet remedies for seasonal allergies, whether it’s eating local honey, going vegan or vegetarian, or avoiding grains, dairy, and sugars. 

While there is no definitive scientific proof that your diet can affect your allergy symptoms, it’s possible that avoiding certain foods may help. That’s because some foods can cause reactions that are similar to seasonal allergies.

However, before making changes to your diet, it’s best to talk to your doctor about what they recommend.

Foods that are bad for allergies

Foods that may worsen your seasonal allergy symptoms include the following:

  • If you’re allergic to birch pollen: You may want to avoid eating foods that contain proflins, which are proteins similar to that of birch pollen and can cause symptoms like swelling or itching in the mouth, tongue, or lips. Foods that contain profilins include: 
    • Peaches
    • Plums
    • Apricots
    • Apples
    • Kiwi
    • Pears
    • Cherries
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Almonds
    • Hazelnuts
    • Peanuts
    • Aniseed
    • Soybeans
    • Caraway
    • Fennel
    • Parsley
  • If you’re allergic to ragweed pollen: You may experience allergic reactions to certain foods that cause symptoms involving itching or tingling in the mouth and throat and coughing. These foods include:
    • Sunflower seeds 
    • Bananas
    • Cucumbers
    • Melons
    • Zucchini
    • Kiwi
  • If you’re allergic to grass pollen: Foods that contain lycopene can cause allergic reactions:
    • Tomatoes
    • Peanuts
    • Swiss chard
    • Celery
  • Spicy foods: Too much spice in your food can worsen allergy symptoms such as runny nose and watery eyes.
  • Processed foods: Deep-fried foods and foods made with refined flour, sugar, or a ton of salt can worsen allergy symptoms.
  • Beer: Beer can also worsen allergy symptoms, especially in people allergic to grass.

SLIDESHOW

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What foods can help with seasonal allergies?

Including certain foods in your diet can help strengthen your immunity and curb inflammation, which can in turn help with seasonal allergy symptoms:

  • Polyphenols
    • Honey
    • Leafy vegetables
    • Broccoli 
    • Bell peppers
    • Berries
    • Pineapples
    • Cocoa
  • Antioxidants
  • Probiotics
    • Yogurt
  • Resveratrol
    • Grapes
  • Good fats
    • Fatty fish

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Medically Reviewed on 7/20/2021
References
https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/seasonal-allergies-at-a-glance

https://foodandnutrition.org/winter-2012/can-eat-affect-seasonal-allergies/

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/eat-to-ease-allergies