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Your Health
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25 Allergy-Fighting Foods That Can Help You Breathe Easier

When it comes to treating respiratory allergies, put these foods — and their vitamins — to work for you

Natural allergy remedies are nothing to sneeze at. Click to view larger
Natural allergy remedies are nothing to sneeze at. (HealthGrove photo via Shutterstock)

In recent years, the rates of respiratory allergies in the United States have been higher than any other allergy type. Although many attribute this prevalence to the “hygiene hypothesis” — the idea that keeping children too clean can increase their risk for later illnesses — others blame antibiotics and obesity.

Whatever the cause, allergies are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. However, increasing amounts of scientific evidence support the use of certain natural remedies for allergies.

Vitamins C, D and E have been shown to boost the immune system and decrease the severity of allergic symptoms. By looking at the content of these vitamins in various foods, the experts at Summerland-based HealthGrove created an allergy-fighting index that weighs these vitamins at 20 percent, 40 percent and 40 percent, respectively, on a scale of 0 to 100. Vitamin C is weighted less because it is much more common.

Since you are more likely to find foods with more than 100 percent your daily value, we wanted to give the rarer vitamins more weight.

Using data from the ESHA nutrition database, we found the 25 highest ranking allergy-fighting foods.

Note: If the Agriculture Department does not provide values for certain nutrients, HealthGrove does not calculate the Nutrient Score of a food.

#25 - Pea Pods

Allergy-Fighting Index: 77.79
Calories per Serving: 34
Serving Size: 0.5 cup (80 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (63.9% Daily Value)

#24 - Grapefruit

Allergy-Fighting Index: 78.4
Calories per Serving: 46
Serving Size: 0.5 cup (124.5 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (70.3% DV)

#23 - Sweet Potatoes

Allergy-Fighting Index: 78.41
Calories per Serving: 162
Serving Size: 1.0 large (180 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (58.8% DV)

#22 - Kale

Allergy-Fighting Index: 78.78
Calories per Serving: 32
Serving Size: 4.0 ounces (113.4 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (74.3% DV)

 

#21 - Tilapia

Allergy-Fighting Index: 78.86
Calories per Serving: 109
Serving Size: 4.0 ounces (113.4 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin D (35.2% DV)

#20 - Lemon

Allergy-Fighting Index: 78.93
Calories per Serving: 24
Serving Size: 1.0 each (84 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (74.2% DV)

#19 - Collard Greens

Allergy-Fighting Index: 78.95
Calories per Serving: 37
Serving Size: 4.0 ounces (113.4 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (75.6% DV)

 

#18 - Broccoli

Allergy-Fighting Index: 79.81
Calories per Serving: 20
Serving Size: 0.5 cup (78 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (73.3% DV)

#17 - Trout

Allergy-Fighting Index: 80.72
Calories per Serving: 168
Serving Size: 4.0 ounces (113.4 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin D (43.9% DV)

#16 - Butternut Squash

Allergy-Fighting Index: 81.41
Calories per Serving: 194
Serving Size: 1.0 package (340.2 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (35.2% DV)

#15 - Red Raspberries

Allergy-Fighting Index: 81.48
Calories per Serving: 293
Serving Size: 1.0 package (284 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (78.1% DV)

#14 - Almonds

Allergy-Fighting Index: 81.75
Calories per Serving: 238
Serving Size: 0.25 cup (39.25 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin E (50.63% DV)

#13 - Pacific Halibut

Allergy-Fighting Index: 82.94
Calories per Serving: 103
Serving Size: 4.0 ounces (113.4 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin D (53.9% DV)

#12 - Sunflower Seeds

Allergy-Fighting Index: 83.62
Calories per Serving: 204
Serving Size: 0.25 cup (35 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin E (61.14% DV)

#11 - Sea Bass

Allergy-Fighting Index: 84.69
Calories per Serving: 110
Serving Size: 4.0 ounces (113.4 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin D (64.1% DV)

#10 - Strawberries

Allergy-Fighting Index: 84.94
Calories per Serving: 45
Serving Size: 20.0 each (140 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (137.2% DV)

#9 - Asparagus

Allergy-Fighting Index: 85.77
Calories per Serving: 53
Serving Size: 1.0 package (293 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (119.2% DV)

#8 - Portobello Mushrooms

Allergy-Fighting Index: 87.66
Calories per Serving: 18
Serving Size: 1.0 each (84 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin D (93.7% DV)

#7 - Spinach

Allergy-Fighting Index: 87.78
Calories per Serving: 65
Serving Size: 1.0 package (283.5 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (132.8% DV)

#6 - Orange

Allergy-Fighting Index: 88.33
Calories per Serving: 107
Serving Size: 1.0 cup (170 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (201.2% DV)

 

#5 - Red Bell Pepper

Allergy-Fighting Index: 89.19
Calories per Serving: 19
Serving Size: 1.0 each (73 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (208.1% DV)

#4 - Mango

Allergy-Fighting Index: 89.77
Calories per Serving: 202
Serving Size: 1.0 each (336 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (203.8% DV)

#3 - Sockeye Salmon

Allergy-Fighting Index: 90.81
Calories per Serving: 161
Serving Size: 4.0 ounces (113.4 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin D (125% DV)

#2 - Brussels Sprouts

Allergy-Fighting Index: 93.64
Calories per Serving: 116
Serving Size: 1.0 package (283.5 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin C (350.1% DV)

#1 - Cod Liver Fish Oil

Allergy-Fighting Index: 100
Calories per Serving: 123
Serving Size: 1.0 tablespoon (13.6 grams)
Good Source of: Vitamin D (340% DV)

Note: Because of its extremely high vitamin D content, cod liver oil has been researched as a natural remedy for allergies of its own and is generally taken in capsule form. However, consult a doctor before adding supplements to your diet.

Click here to research these foods on HealthGrove.

— Sabrina Perry is an associate editor at Graphiq, a Summerland data analysis and visualization startup. This article is based on data curated by HealthGrove, a division of Graphiq.

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