Ask the Pharmacist: Natural antihistamine foods

Suzy Cohen
Columnist

I was visiting Florida recently and was taken aback by how many people were blowing their nose and it was due to allergies. So many people in all states suffer with allergies year round, but it may be especially harder in hot, humid conditions were mold spores, weeds, flowers and grasses are abundant!   

It’s good to know ways to help your body produce its own antihistamine and how to mitigate all the sneezing, itching and runny nose problems. When histamine and other cytokines get out of control, you can experience anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening reaction. Histamine is an ‘exciting’ chemical, it excites and wakes up the brain. This is why antihistamines often cause sedation. How about eating your way to better health?  Here are some good ideas to help you improve your diet, so it includes more antihistaminic foods.

Classic chicken piccata, pan seared with fresh lemon slices and topped with a lemon-butter pan sauce and capers.

Capers

These delicious treats are something I like to put on top of a bagel with some cream cheese and nova, as well as everything seasoning spice. The capers are rich in quercetin. Quercetin and its cousin compound called DHQ (dihydroquercetin) are one of the strongest natural antihistamines known to man. Quercetin-rich fruits like apples and most vegetables will help attenuate allergic reactivity in almost everyone! Supplements are available too if the capers aren’t enough!

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Pineapples

Bromelain is the enzyme that fresh pineapple confers and it’s a strong anti-inflammatory enzyme. It can help with a runny nose and itchy, swollen eyes. It will help with mucus production and allergies by blocking chemicals that cause misery. Bromelain is a popular natural post-surgical supplement because it speeds healing of tissue. Just a note of caution because some people are actually allergic to pineapple. If you are one of those people, then you may also have a cross reactivity to bananas so be careful.

Ginger

Ginger

I like those Ginger Chews and crystallized ginger, as well as the type in sushi cuisine. My favorite form of ginger is ginger tea which is easy to make. Ginger is a natural antihistamine and it’s strong. It also helps immediately with a scratchy, raw throat which may occur if you have a lot of phlegm dripping down. Ginger is also thought to help with DNA damage, that’s why some oncologists recommend it. Again, this is a very strong herbal remedy when it comes to controlling cytokines of all sorts, including histamine.

Navel oranges

Navel oranges 

Vitamin C is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant with many well-documented antihistamine effects. It helps prevent your body from making so much histamine while improving collagen production and immune function. Eating a grapefruit, or orange each day could provide enough C for a mild allergy. Navel oranges are higher in C than blood oranges. If you need supplementation, those are widely available at health food stores. If you'd like to read the extended article I wrote, please sign up for my free newsletter at suzycohen.com. 

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.