Jennifer SalosAsk Jennifer: My allergies are much worse this year. My head is heavy almost every day, I’m sneezing and miserable. Do you have any suggestions?

You’re right! The 2019 spring allergy season has been severe, with some calling it the “pollenpocalypse.” has a handy daily pollen-count map for your state, even specific cities, and lists area-specific allergens. The Annapolis, MD region has especially high pollen counts; the current top allergens are maple, oak, birch and ash.

Many hay fever symptoms, like yours (heavy, congested head), mimic a cold or a sinus infection; but, unfortunately, allergy symptoms don’t go away until the pollen is dormant.

I do have suggestions: foods that you should avoid during allergy season and foods that will help alleviate allergies.

Foods to Avoid during Allergy Season

Alcohol, caffeine, peanuts, sugar, citrus, bottled juice, dried fruits, shrimp, and chocolate. These foods commonly increase hay fever symptoms.

Mucus-producing foods. Avoid conventional milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, butter, milk chocolate, red meat, wheat, soy, cabbage, potatoes, corn, and candy. Some of the items in the first list (e.g., coffee and alcohol) also produce mucus.

Preservatives. Sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium sulfite, highly-processed foods, and artificial sweeteners (to name a few) can contribute to your allergic rhinitis.

Melons, bananas, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, Echinacea and chamomile. Avoid these if you’re allergic to ragweed (a fall allergen), as they can an trigger your allergic response. Limiting foods to which you’re sensitive helps to lighten the burden on your immune system.

Good Foods during Allergy Season

Raw local honey. A study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology showed patients who consumed honey had significantly fewer allergy symptoms than those on conventional allergy medications.

Two tablespoons daily of local honey may relieve hay fever symptoms because it contains the local pollen that’s causing your allergies!

Mucus-reducing foods. To combat excessive mucus, eating hot (temperature-wise), spicy foods. Foods that are both hot and spicy help to thin and express mucus. Try adding garlic, onion, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper to your recipes.

Apple cider vinegar also breaks up mucus and supports lymphatic drainage. Drink this mixture three times per day: 1 tablespoon of ACV, 1 tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a half-tablespoon of local raw honey.

Bone broth. A broth made from chicken, beef or lamb bones helps to ease respiratory problems and to expel excess nasal mucus. It also reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system.

Probiotic-rich foods. These support your immune system, improve digestion, increase energy levels, and more. Foods with probiotic properties include: kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, natto, yogurt, and raw cheese.

Pineapple. The enzyme bromelain found in pineapple can help to reduce your reaction to seasonal allergies. The pineapple core also has the highest concentration of the essential nutrients (including vitamins B and C) you need during allergy season. If you have a Vitamix, or other high-speed blender, you can actually juice the pineapple core!

Fresh organic vegetables. Swiss chard (which is high in quercetin), beets, carrots and yams help to minimize seasonal allergies. Choose vegetables that are dark green, yellow or orange for the best nutrient density.

Clean proteins. Wild-caught fish, free-range poultry and organic, grass-fed beef and lamb are free of the hormones and other toxins that can aggravate allergies. Wild salmon, especially, is rich in vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, essential minerals and, of course, protein.

Other anti-allergy foods to enjoy during hay fever season include horseradish and onions. As well, try cooking with ginger, which warms the body and breaks down toxins.

Sources: Dr. Axe Food is Medicine,, and Lung Institute

Jennifer Salos, MS, CNC
Jennifer has a Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition. She is also a nationally Certified Nutritional Consultant and Diplomat of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants.

Did You Know?…

Any foods to which you know you’re allergic / sensitive will aggravate your seasonal allergy symptoms.

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