Seasonal allergy symptoms are a direct result of our immune system overreacting to allergens in the environment, triggering an inflammatory process. It stands to reason that eating foods that can reduce inflammation and keep our immune system in check can help to relieve these symptoms.

In fact, research points to a number of foods that hold promise in helping our bodies stay balanced when faced with seasonal allergens.

Foods rich in a plant compound called quercetin are a promising, anti-inflammatory buffer for allergy symptoms. Quercetin, found in red onions, apples, broccoli, green tea and berries, has been shown to inhibit the release of histamine and decrease the production of inflammatory signaling molecules in the body, called cytokines.

Omega-3s found in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and trout, provide a boost of the anti-inflammatory long-chain omega-3 EPA, which has been shown to decrease the production of inflammatory compounds. A recent study found that children who consumed oily fish at least once a week, as well as other dietary long-chain omega-3s, had a significantly decreased chance of developing rhinitis later in adolescence. In some cases the risk was cut by half.

Keeping your sinuses clear is also impacted by your general diet. For example, a diet high in dietary fat or following a low-carbohydrate diet have both been associated with an increased risk of developing seasonal allergies. It is not clear how these dietary patterns might impact our body’s allergic response, but it does show that nutritional factors can have a significant influence on the functioning of our immune system.

Instead, opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. This is not only a smart choice for your overall health, but could hold the key to keeping your immune system balanced and reducing irritating symptoms of seasonal allergies.