As the spring season begins, along with it begins the allergy symptoms of sniffing and sneezing, for many. Those symptoms are annoying to the extent of keeping many people away from outdoor activities. However, this should not be the case if those susceptible individuals adopt a healthy diet which boosts their immune system, avoid behaviors that may diminish their immunity, and take their allergy medications regularly.

A healthy diet for a better functioning immune system is one with fresh, minimally processed, and antioxidant rich foods. Mushrooms are a source of B vitamins that play a role in a healthy immune system. The berry family that includes blueberries, raspberries and others is high in antioxidants called anthocyanins which may help the body fight aging and disease. Cabbage is a source of immune-strengthening  glutamine so try adding white or red cabbage in your diet. Almonds are a source of vitamin E which help boost the immune system. Grapefruit is packed with flavonoids which are natural compounds found to increase immune system activation. Low fat yogurt which contains the lactobacillus bacteria may stimulate the immune system. Garlic has both antioxidant and antibacterial roles in the body. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, vitamin K and more. Black or green tea are loaded with polyphenols and flavonoids that may fight diseases. Orange colored vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes are sources of the antioxidant beta-carotene.

On the other hand, the behaviors that may diminish our immunity are:

1. Being overweight: as the number of fat cells increase so does the pro-inflammatory chemicals that promotes chronic inflammation and thus may damage healthy tissues.
2. Lack of exercise: regular exercise increase the level of immune system cells that fight infections. Being inactive and sedentary may weaken your immune system.
3. A diet high in sugar and fat like sugary drinks, high fat meat, and fried foods suppress immune system cells that fight bacteria.
4. Chronic stress: exposing the body to chronic stress means exposing it to high levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline which suppress the immune system.

Following a healthy diet that boosts the immune system and avoiding the bad behaviors that diminish the immune system are among the first line of defense mechanism. However, taking allergy medications like antihistamine may be inevitable for some people with severe symptoms but keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle will still be important even when taking medication.