Can a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Help Allergies?

by Jion Sommer, Plant-based Nutrition Certified Professional, Reiki practitioner & Meditation teacher, Owner, Living Proof Naturally

Allergies are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to a foreign substance. When these substances come into contact with the skin, the body releases histamines, which trigger the symptoms of an allergy. A plant-based diet can help to reduce the severity of allergies by reducing the amount of histamines in the body.

More than 70% of your immune system resides in your gut. What you eat supports the microbiome in your belly, so keeping that gut flora healthy can help your immune system better handle allergens. Adding probiotics to your diet is an excellent start. Research shows that probiotics, which are plentiful in fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kombucha, can help treat allergies like hay fever.

Certain vitamins and herbs can help with allergic responses as well.

Vitamin C can cut down on histamines, the chemicals in the body that cause many allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose. A half cup of yellow peppers contains 155 mg and one cup of broccoli contains 89 mg. So put some in your next salad.

Sunshine is our best source of vitamin D. Mushrooms are also an excellent source. Exposing shiitake mushrooms to sunlight for six hours a day, over the course of two days, may increase the vitamin D concentration from 2.5 micrograms per 100 grams to a whopping 1150 micrograms per 100 grams!

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in chia, hemp, flax and pumpkin seeds, as well as walnuts.

Herbs offer another form of natural antihistamines, like stinging nettles, which can be used as a tea or in tincture form. Turmeric is also beneficial and can be used in stir fries, tea or capsules.

Fresh ginger contains gingerol, which may help dry up mucus so you feel less stuffy. Make ginger tea or grate some into a stir fry.

Increased stress promotes allergies, so taking a few mindful minutes several times a day will help you feel better and release stress. When you make your ginger tea or meal full of plant-based healing ingredients with natural antihistamines, pause for a few moments of meditation and gratitude. May all beings benefit.