Nutrition and Allergies: Keeping Bailey and Baby

Bailey and Baby

Say Hi to Bailey and Baby!

I have suffered from allergies since I was an adolescent and am completely allergic to animals; especially cats even though we have had cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds in my house as far back as I can remember. I don’t remember too many things helping me with my sneezing attacks (which typically lead to Asthma attacks) aside from a hot face cloth and some tea or a nice dose of an antihistamine and a few pumps from my inhaler.

At some point my mother thought it would be best to simply pay for me to receive allergy immunotherapy which involved a series of shots over an entire year. The shots were administered weekly and then less frequent as the time progressed and by the end of the year I was able to be around cats and dogs without problems. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), “occasionally doctors give cortisone-type shots that can temporarily reduce allergy symptoms. These types of shots are different and should not be confused with allergy immunotherapy injections” (para. 3). But receiving this therapy takes time, patience, and of course, MONEY.

As the proud owner of two new kittens (Baby and Bailey); I thought I would be okay due to the allergy immunotherapy treatment, however the allergies are kicking in strong. Trying to find a way to co-exist with my two new family members tends to leave me exhausted, congested, and unable to breathe. This past weekend I felt so terrible that I almost consumed and entire bottle of orange juice over a two day period, after which ironically I felt a little better. So of course that peaked my curiosity… can orange juice help to reduce allergy symptoms?

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America suggests that: avoiding your allergens, vacuuming, and staying away from humid climate will help prevent your allergies from being triggered.  However, according to Providence Life Services, “…the right foods can help you minimize your body’s response to allergens” (para. 2). The AAAAI also supports the idea that your diet can have an impact on your allergy symptoms. Here are some foods to consider:

  • Onions, apples, citrus fruits, and broccoli contain quercetin, a bioflavonoid that can inhibit the body’s release of histamines, reducing allergic reactions.
  • Salmon, flaxseed oil, walnuts, pecans, and hempseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, and there is evidence to suggest that omega-3s can help reduce inflammation of air passages.
  • Water — staying hydrated will thin mucus while hydrating your mucous membranes.
  • Fruit and fruit juices (as long as they are not loaded with high-fructose corn syrup) are rich in antioxidants that can reduce inflammation. Berries are particularly rich in antioxidants.
  • Spinach, sunflower seeds, pinto beans, and artichokes are high in magnesium. Some studies have linked a lack of magnesium to asthma. Adding magnesium to your diet may ward off asthma symptoms by relaxing the muscles around the bronchial tubes. (list provided by the Providence Life Services).

So, the answer is yes! Drink lots of orange juice without the high fructose corn syrup. You may also want to consider increasing your exercise to strengthen your immune system, and avoiding the excessive use of  alcohol and tobacco. AchooAllergy.com indicates that excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco can increase the release of histamine. Now I know what to do to keep Bailey and Baby and stay healthy. Check out these websites for more information about Nutrition and Allergies.

Reference:

Providence Life Services  http://www.providencelifeservices.com/fighting-allergies-with-nutrition/
AAAAI  https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/allergy-shots.aspx
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9
AchooAllergy.com http://www.achooallergy.com/nutritionforallergysufferers.asp

DanielleHairstonGreenBy Danielle Y. Hairston Green,
Program Specialist, Family and Consumer Sciences
Cooperative Extension Program

Visit us online at www.pvamu.edu/cahs