Dear Dr. Levister: Since I cannot take antihistamines without going to sleep, where can I find natural allergy relief and still be able to function normally throughout the day. –Y.A.
Dear Y.A.: Spring is in the air and with that comes pollen. There are some allergy medications that do not cause drowsiness, but if you prefer natural remedies you need look no further than the kitchen cabinet.
You might want to try cooking up some allergy relief in the form of hot, spicy foods. The reason: Experts say the spicier the dish, the more likely it is to thin mucous secretions, which in turn can clear nasal passages. Hot and spicy foods can actually help relieve some of the respiratory symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.
Among the most frequently recommended spices for this purpose include cayenne pepper, hot ginger, and fenugreek, as well as the traditional onion and garlic.
There are lots of dishes that are hot, spicy and flavorful: Kung pao chicken, curry, spicy ginger chicken, hot Italian sausage, which is great on the grill by the way, all kinds of Mexican and Thai foods. Sprinkle a little cayenne pepper on grilled vegetables. It doesn’t take much to produce the desired result. Of course, spicy foods will not prevent seasonal allergies, but they are a tasty way to get some relief.
Turning the focus from the medicine chest to the kitchen cabinet, what you don’t eat may be even more important than what you do eat. The reason is that food intolerance may be far more intimately entwined with seasonal allergies than we realize.
Look at your diet and cut out any foods that seem to provoke even a mild sensitivity, such as occasional hives or even stomach upset. In doing so, you can literally lighten the burden on your immune system, which in turn may help reduce the impact of seasonal allergic reactions.