Spring is here, and with the warmer weather comes discomfort for many allergy and asthma sufferers. But Fred Pescatore, M.D., the acclaimed author of The Allergy & Asthma Cure as well as the bestselling The Hamptons Diet, has some good news: It does not have to be that way.
“If you or someone you love has had to deal with sneezing, itchy eyes, breathlessness, rashes, and other symptoms this time of year, unbalanced eating habits may be to blame,” Dr. Pescatore says. “Proper nutrition can make a dramatic difference. With insights into diet that I have compiled over the years, I have been able to rid or reduce many of my patients’ use of multiple medications for asthma and allergy. There’s no need for anyone to stay indoors or feel miserable for an entire season due to these conditions.”
Whether you suffer from allergies or asthma, says Dr. Pescatore, the cure is the same: You must reduce inflammation in your body. So, for example, if you have yeast or mold allergies, consider a low-yeast diet. Avoid fermented foods, aged cheeses, and mushrooms. During grass season, limit consumption of milk products to avoid congestion, as well as all grains including corn, wheat, oats, rye, and rice.
“Refined sugars, flours, and processed food all trigger inflammation so steer clear of them,” Dr. Pescatore says. “Additionally, avoiding specific foods that cross-react with environmental allergens can reduce your overall ‘allergy burden,’ which can allow your body to better handle your inhaled allergens.”
Tree allergy season, he notes, peaks in April and extends in June so during this period it is best to avoid celery, carrots, apples, potatoes, peaches, nuts, and spices belonging to the apiaceae family (i.e., anise, caraway, coriander, cumin, fennel, parsley and parsnip).
In addition to modifying your diet, Dr. Pescatore has found that certain nutritional supplements can help allergy and asthma sufferers. Specifically, Vitamin D3 can decrease inflammation, Vitamin C helps combat the added stress to our bodies caused by allergies, and Vitamin A helps rid the body of mucus. Additionally, Vitamin B12 stabilizes the imbalance of bacteria that occurs in the gut of most allergy sufferers, Pantethine works as a natural steroid that produces a helpful enzyme, quercetin is one of nature’s best antihistamines, and magnesium helps your body rid itself of the toxins we consume and face daily while helping us breathe more easily.
There are more allergy-preventive measures you can take. “Closing your windows at night prevents allergens from coming into your home, and having an air purifier can reduce airborne allergens, including mold,” says Dr. Pescatore. Taking your shoes off before going inside will prevent some allergens from entering with you, and you should vacuum your car’s interior where pollen hide. Even rubbing olive oil on your hair at night is recommended — because it will keep pollen from getting on your bedding.
“Following these simple steps,” concludes Dr. Pescatore, “could mean the difference between an enjoyable spring and a typically unpleasant one for the millions of Americans who suffer from allergies and asthma.”
Material adapted from Dr. Fred Pescatore, MD.