As the saying goes, dynamite comes in small packages. This is no different for this little herbaceous plant. Turmeric is part of the ginger family and adds some amazing flavor to food. Apart from being tasty, it is also very rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help fight off allergies.
The magic ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin which basically blocks mast cells from releasing histamine. Normally, mast cells are rather important as they play a key role in the healing of wounds and defending against pathogens. However, these cells also have a dark side and when provoked, they cause all kinds of allergic mayhem in our bodies. When they are too easily activated or over produced by the body, they become responsible for a fair number of allergic reactions, but mostly respiratory and skin allergies.
If spring is a season you dread because of the hay fever, itchy eyes, runny nose and constant sneezing, you might be a victim of over stimulated mast cells. The over-release of their histamines cause increased mucous production and cause you to feel like a wilted flower. The only thing left to do is to fight back and block those mast cells from spoiling your day.
Turmeric is not like an apple, however. Unfortunately it requires some preparation to incorporate into your daily allergy diet. There are a number of different ways to use the plant. By far the easiest recipe is just mixing a teaspoon of turmeric with a glass of milk, but it is also probably the least appetizing. To really treat yourself, you need to brush up on your eastern cuisine, seeing that turmeric is a main ingredient in many eastern dishes.
Legend has it that this famous little plant has the power to kill a vampire. It most certainly has the power to repel people if you were the only one who consumed some of it. However, garlic is truly an amazing little plant and apart from being a popular flavoring ingredient in many dishes, it has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries.
So what makes this onion-like plant so special? Garlic contains a sulfur compound called, allicin, which is responsible for giving it, its amazing flavor. Garlic is also rich in antioxidants and other vitamins which makes it a good immune boosting supplement as well. There, is however a catch. Garlic is amazingly healthy for you, but not crushed, or put through a blender. Not does it enjoy being boiled in your favorite stew, or roasted in the oven.
Allicin is a very sensitive compound and breaks up very easily. Most of it is destroyed as you dice up the garlic clove to be added to your food. This is why you need to have a steady and regular intake of garlic if you are to utilize its healing powers. However, if you are a bit more hardcore and in serious need of a healthy dose of Allicin, then you can always opt for the raw, unprocessed and crushed option. When eating garlic raw, most of the allicin is preserved, but so is the odor.
Scientists and entrepreneurial enthusiast have been working on an alternative though. A number of them have claimed that they have found a way to dry out the garlic, thus eliminating the smell, but preserving the concentration of the allicin. The only question that really remains is how far you are willing to go to alleviate your allergy.
We are all very aware of the fact that lemons contain a large amount of vitamin C and antioxidants. They are excellent immune – boosting super foods that can give you the edge during the cold and flu season. However, they can also give you an edge over your allergies. The other great advantage of lemons is that it is really difficult to eat too much of it, which means that you won’t easily over-ingest the good stuff and make it counter-productive.
Lemons act as an antitoxin which basically keeps your body alkaline. This helps your body maintain a healthy immune balance. By including lemons in your daily diet, you provide your body with a means to detoxify itself and get rid of impurities. This translates to you feeling much healthier, energetic and vibrant.
Lemons are probably one of the easiest foods to incorporate into your daily diet due to its versatility. Many people struggle to drink the daily recommended amount of water just because we are so used to artificial and sweet flavored drinks. Freshly squeezed lemon juice or a couple of lemon slices in a water pitcher gives it a refreshing taste and will encourage anybody to drink a bit more water. Another way to include into your diet is to create a dressing for your food. All you need is the juice of two lemons and some olive oil. Mix the two together and you have a dressing that will rival that of many a restaurant.
Lemon juice can also be applied to irritated skin. Its bleaching properties enables it to heal itchy skin and bring relief to other skin irritations brought on by allergic reactions.
Anybody who is acquainted with sushi will know about this cold water fish. Salmon is extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids and is very high in protein and vitamin D. The fatty acids make salmon effective in fighting inflammation and consequently alleviate your allergies. A further benefit of salmon is that it increases a person’s lung function and decreases the severity of symptoms associated with the respiratory system.
So how mush salmon is enough? A number of dieticians maintain that eating at least two portions of salmon (roughly 200 grams) a week is enough to meet the dietary needs of your body. These fatty acids that salmon is so rich in is extremely important for your body, seeing that it cannot produce it on its own. That is why omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential oils.
The benefits of salmon don’t stop there however. The antioxidants that it contains helps a person’s skin rejuvenate. Astaxanthin is the responsible antioxidant that prevents your skin from being damaged. A study was done where 44 people with sun-damaged skin were given 2 mg of astaxanthin a week for a 12 week period. The results of the study showed that the participants’ skin improved in elasticity and hydration, making their skin look younger and healthier.
Salmon is very versatile and can be enjoyed in a number of different ways. Whether you are one for the raw things in life, or enjoy your meals cooked, salmon can definitely be incorporated into your diet. Depending on where you live, salmon can be a bit on the pricey side. So if you are a bit strapped for cash, you can always opt for a cheaper substitute in the form of herring, trout or sardines.
6. Green tea
Green tea is one of those teas that you either love or cannot begin to think how anybody can stomach it. Apart from people’s resistance to try this bitter tasting elixir, it still deserves a solid place in our list of super foods. If you suffer from allergies, you might want to do away with your aversion to include this tea in your diet, seeing that it is a major immune booster and a preventative substance for allergic reactions.
Many studies have proven green tea’s superior health benefits, but a study done in 2002 pointed to a compound that blocks key cell receptors that are involved in a person’s allergic responses. Like with most of the foods that combat allergies, greet tea is rich in antioxidants and anti – histamine, as well as anti- inflammatory properties.
If you are one of the unlucky few who cannot stand green tea, there is hope. You can give your green tea a super boost by adding some lemon juice or honey. This not only improves on the flavor but also adds other immune boosting qualities and allergy fighting properties.
Green tea is extremely versatile in terms of its medicinal uses. If you don’t struggle with allergies, it might still be something to consider into your daily diet. Green tea has been known to improve heart and mental health and increases brain function. It is also said to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In 2007 a study showed that green tea limited the rate of skin cell production associated with dry, red and flaky skin and reduced the inflammation of the skin irritation.
7. Sweet potatoes
This tuber packs quite a punch when one considers how inexpensive, versatile and tasty it is. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C and B6. This is excellent news for the allergy prone individual, seeing that it helps to heal inflammation in the body and also boosts the immune system. This means that the body produces less histamines that cause allergies.
If you have skin allergies, or if you want to give your skin a facelift, then you need to look no further for a natural remedy. Sweet potatoes help with the healing of wounds and also produces collagen which helps the skin maintain elasticity. There are also signs that sweet potatoes might be linked to fighting off toxins that cause cancer.
Sweet potatoes are also a great source of mineral iron which our bodies need to stay energized. The iron, however, also helps in the production of red and white blood cells and helps the body metabolize protein. The magnesium in sweet potatoes acts as an anti-stress agent, seeing that it improves blood circulation and also improves heart, muscle and nerve function. This naturally reduces stress and helps the body relax
Sweet potatoes can be eaten as a staple and won’t break the bank. As mentioned they are inexpensive and the amount of dishes that you can concoct with it is basically limited to your imagination. You can enjoy them as a snack in the form of crisps, or mash them up to top your cottage pie/ Wrap them up in foil and bake them either in the oven or the BBQ and enjoy with some honey. The choice is yours.
Ginger is yet another strong flavorant that holds many benefits. This tiny little root plant is absolutely loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflamatory properties. By only consuming a small amount of the root inflammation can be reduced better than some anti-inflammatory medication. Those of us who suffer from asthma need to pay special heed to its medicinal properties.
Ginger has been reported to inhibit airway contraction. When the lungs are dry, it becomes very difficult to breath. This is where ginger comes in pretty handy, seeing that it stimulates mucus production and alleviates asthma symptoms. The active ingredient in ginger, gingerol, may also help in fighting respiratory infection caused by the RSV virus.
For the pregnant ladies who suffer from morning sickness or nausea in general, ginger rank right up there with other nausea alleviating medicines. With only a few grams of ginger (1 – 1.5 grams to be exact), a number of studies showed that morning sickness was greatly reduced in the women who suffered from morning sickness.
Ginger can be used or ingested in a number of different ways. The most popular ways by far are using it as a tea extract and enjoying a pickled version with your favourite sushi. The best way to extract the most of the root’s beneficial properties is by using a masticating juicer. These machines squeeze out every last drop of nutritious value out of the ingredient that it processes. Be sure to add only a small amount of ginger to your next juice as it is a very dominating flavorant and can easily overpower any other taste in your juice.
9. Collard greens
These leafy greens share a family with broccoli and cabbage and are the source of many a childhood fits about food. These greens tend to be a bit on the bitter side. No wonder kids have an aversion to it. However, as one grows older, one starts to realize what is truly important in life and one also realizes that taking care of one’s body becomes extremely important.
Collard greens contain carotenoid which is yet another source of food to combat allergies. They also boost the immune system due to its richness in vitamin C. However, unlike garlic, to extract the healing properties of collard greens, you only need to consume them, no rules on how you need to ingest the food type? Not all collard greens were created equal. If you want to pursue the magical benefits of collard greens, you need to ensure that you choose the darker coloured ones.
Like with all of the above-mentioned superfoods, collard greens do not only boost the immune system. It has many different medicinal uses. Collard greens have been reported to combat cancer, improve sleeping patterns and rejuvenate skin.
The vitamin A in these leafy greens has been known to maintain a person’s skin and there have also been reports of it being helpful in moisturizing the user’s hair. Boiling only one cup of collard greens provide roughly half of the daily dietary intake of vitamin A.
Our last contender of the superfoods is the flaxseed. These seeds are cultivated in the cooler parts around the globe. These tiny miracle workers are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and selenium and they also help prevent allergic reactions. The fatty acids work as an anti-inflammatory substance and alleviates allergies by reducing inflammation, while the selenium acts as a sort of regulatory substance that manages and the immune system.
In terms of its medicinal use, flaxseed has only recently gained popularity for its healing powers and scientists believe that it can help combat heart disease, diabetes and even breast cancer. However, it has been cultivated for a number of centuries and a certain King Charlemagne went so far as to order his subjects to consume the seed.
Recent studies have shown that flaxseed may be a big natural contender in the fight against cancer. Not only has it shown to fight breast cancer, but also the silent killer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. The omega-3 fatty acid component of the plant restricts tumor growth. The omega-3 has also shown some positive signs in fighting cardiovascular disease. It seems to effectively reduce blood pressure and keeps the arteries in tip-top shape.
Truly deserving of its spot on the list of superfoods, flaxseed is relatively easy to incorporate into ones diet. You can opt to just have a spoonful each day and eat it raw, or you can add it to your favourite bread recipe or any of your baked recipes.