Don’t Let Pollen Pollute Your Workout: Five Foods that Fight Spring AllergiesMay 2nd, 2013
There’s only one thing worse for your home exercise routine than flu season: allergy season.
Spring is in the air, but so is pollen. That means all those beautifully flowering trees and plants are releasing tiny, annoying grains that infest your nose with irritants, sending your immune system into overdrive. Since your body is trying to protect you, it mistakenly labels the pollen grains as foreign invaders and starts attacking the allergens by releasing antibodies and associated chemicals, resulting in the runny nose and itchy eyes that slow you down every spring.
Of course, working out inside on your Smooth elliptical or treadmill eliminates some of the adverse effects of allergy season by allowing you to avoid direct contact with the pollen-infused air. But sometimes you just can’t get away from those symptoms. At Smooth Fitness, we feel your pain, and we’d like to share one of the best ways to fight off your allergies this spring season: eating healthy. Believe it or not, many natural foods contain nutrients capable of relieving your allergy symptoms.
1) Dark-colored produce: As if you needed another excuse to reach for the veggies instead of the potato chips, many naturally occurring plant compounds contain antioxidants that prevent damage to your airways. Try beets, berries, cherries, and red grapes for the best results.
2) Spicy turmeric: A yellow spice found in most Indian curries, turmeric offers anti-inflammatory benefits similar to many medicines. If you’re not into curry, you can also add it to soups, stews, or salad dressing – just be sure to avoid anything dairy-based, since it will reverse positive effects with its mucous-forming properties.
3) Leafy greens: For a great source of hesperidin, a phytonutrient with antihistamine properties, go green with veggies like broccoli, spinach, and romaine or red-leaf lettuce.
4) Black, green or white tea: Drinking tea might seem like a no-brainer comfort food when you’re feeling sick, but did you know that these teas also contain an important nutrient called quercetin? With antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties all rolled into one, quercetin is great for improving lung function during allergy season.
5) Tree nuts: Because they are high in magnesium and vitamin E, which alleviate breathing difficulties while boosting immunity, tree nuts like walnuts and pecans are a great way to fend off your spring allergy symptoms. Just don’t go overboard – nuts tend to be high in fat, so portion control is vital if you’re trying to lose weight.
Armed with these five allergy-fighting foods, you should be back on the home exercise horse in no time at all! Whether you’re increasing the resistance on your Smooth elliptical or running faster and longer on your new treadmill, your overall health and fitness can only improve when you incorporate a nutrient-rich diet into your workout regimen this spring.