Fight Inflammation with Food
Seasonal allergies and eczema are no fun for anyone and can be difficult to get fully under control. While you may have heard of many tips and tricks to help alleviate symptoms, from a nutrition perspective, there is no specific diet to help keep seasonal allergies and eczema at bay. Despite this, certain foods might help alleviate symptoms and are worth a try.
Inflammation throughout the body increases when our immune system reacts to something foreign – like plant pollen. While small bouts of inflammation are actually healthy for the body, chronic inflammation has been linked to a higher risk for various health issues and diseases. Although there is no specific anti-inflammatory diet, many foods can help effectively fight inflammation and should be added to your diet.
These recommended foods include:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale
- Fruit, such as blueberries and strawberries
- Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines
- Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts
- Dark chocolate
On the flip side, foods that are linked to increased inflammation include:
- Fried foods
- Foods high in refined sugar (NOT to be confused with natural sugar, like that found in fruit)
- Soda and sugar-sweetened beverages
- Refined carbohydrates, such as processed white flour
- Processed meats, like hot dogs and packaged meats
- Foods high in trans fat, like margarine or shortening
It’s important to note that lifestyle can also impact your inflammatory levels. For example, stress and lack of sleep are major contributors to inflammation. For many, focusing on managing stress and improving sleep quality can have a greater impact than just focusing on nutrition alone.
L-histidine (also known as histidine) is an essential amino acid and deficiencies have been linked to eczema in both children and adults. Since it is an essential amino acid – which is the building block of protein – our bodies cannot produce l-histidine on its own and it must be consumed through the diet. L-histidine can be found in pork, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, fish, soy, beans, milk, cheese, nuts, seeds, whole grains and eggs.
A recent study showed that supplementing with 4g of L-histidine per day improved clinical signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis by about 32%. But further studies are necessary to determine whether or not l-histidine is an effective tool for reducing eczema. In the meantime, including foods high in l-histidine may be helpful. These foods are also high in many other important nutrients, so adding them in can only help.
Additional nutritional support available to members
While there’s no definitive way to eliminate the symptoms of seasonal allergies or eczema through the diet, taking a food-first approach and incorporating anti-inflammatory foods, as well as foods high in histidine, may help alleviate some of your struggles this spring.
For more individualized advice, members can contact a Personal Health Navigator to schedule a virtual visit with our dietitian. You can chat in the app or call 646.819.5100.