If you're out of tissues, you're not alone. Allergy season has reared its ugly head again, and it doesn't appear to be leaving anytime soon. Still, there's no reason you have to continue suffering from pesky allergy symptoms throughout the summer. Effective remedies for your itchy eyes, sniffles, and sneezes may be no further than your kitchen.
There are a bevy of foods that are rich in the allergy-fighting ingredient quercetin. The natural, plant-derived compound works as an anti-inflammatory and decreases your body's production of histamine, the chemical released by your immune system to trigger an allergic reaction and cause symptoms such as congestion. Even better? Quercetin is also a natural antioxidant that helps mop up molecules called free radicals that cause cell damage, which can lead to cancer.
While severe allergy sufferers looking to prevent attacks may need to take quercetin supplements, incorporating the following quercetin-rich foods into your diet can help alleviate pesky seasonal symptoms. Dig in!
Make a pitcher of black tea and pop in some ice cubes for a refreshing allergy remedy. Bonus: Slip on a pair of protective gloves and brew your tea with stinging nettle, a common weed aptly named for causing skin inflammation on contact. To its credit, studies have shown that stinging nettle inhibits the body's ability to produce histamine to relief allergy symptoms.
Alternatively, try a tea made from safer-sounding butterbur, a plant that acts as an inhibitor. Used to treat migraines, stomach ulcers, infections, coughs, asthma, and - you guessed it!--allergies, studies have found it to be as effective as some over-the-counter allergy medications, but its long-term effects are still unknown.
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2. Red wine
Enjoy a glass of red wine (as if we needed yet another reason to love the stuff) for a relaxing evening.
'Tis the season for cheap, ripe, tasty tomatoes! Dice them up and throw them into your guac to add bulk--but not calories--to your next batch. Bonus: Tomatoes are full of vitamin C. Like quercetin, vitamin C helps suppress the inflammation that can lead to allergic symptoms such as a stuffy nose.
Don't cry! Onions--cooked or raw--make this Greek summer pizza sing: Just spread pesto on a pita, add chopped purple onions, your favorite summer vegetables, spices, and cheese.
Parsley is nutritious and yummy, particularly when combined with Greek yogurt, thyme and oregano to create a sandwich spread or mixed with other spices to make a fish rub.
Wow your taste buds with a new twist on hummus: Using a food processor, combine chopped broccoli and zucchini, chickpeas, tahini, and your favorite spices.
7. Leafy greens
Give your salad a makeover by tossing it on the grill. Cut hearts of romaine lengthwise and lightly brush with olive oil. Place face down on the grill (the root is holding it together). Remove and sprinkle with your favorite spices and nutrient-rich nuts.
Think you've eaten apples every-which way? Try mixing chopped apples with quinoa, feta, and your favorite seeds. Serve it chilled.
9. Citrus fruits
Use them in a light summer parfait by mixing in chopped apples and layering the fruit mixture with low-fat yogurt. Sprinkled with flaxseeds for a nutrient-rich crunch.
More from MSN Healthy Living:
- 10 Highly Unusual Allergies
- Healthiest Plants for Your Home
- 5 Biggest Allergy Myths
- Bing: Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
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