It looks like the parts of Canada that get summer are actually starting to thaw out, and while that means it’s nearly time to bask in the sunshine and break out the barbie, it also means two other things: bugs and pollen. Ah, the price we pay for not freezing 12 months of the year. We’ve mostly learned to manage the negative aspects of the season, but allergies can be tricky. Was that an allergy sneeze or are you getting sick? Is your throat itchy because you need a drink or because it’s ragweed season?
Well, your allergies just got a little trickier. Did you know that certain foods in your diet may actually be reacting with the pollen you inhale to make an even worse mouth and throat reaction? If you get a dry, scratchy or burning sensation in your palate or the back of your throat as part of your allergies, you might want to consider limiting your ingestion of those foods during the season your allergen is most prevalent.
You can check the pollen reports in your area on the Weather Network website and experiment with what foods bother you during high index days and which ones don’t. This might take a little trial and error to figure out but at least you have a place to start.
Here are some common pollens and the foods that might cross-react with them.
Alder tree pollen
Season: Beginning of spring.
Reactive foods: Almonds, apples, celery, cherries, hazelnuts, peaches, pears and parsley.
Birch tree pollen
Season: Mid-March to early June.
Reactive foods: Almonds, apples, apricots, carrots, celery, coriander, fennel, hazelnuts, kiwi, lychee, nectarines, oranges, parsley, plums, pears, peppers, persimmons, plums, potato, prunes, soy, wheat and walnuts.
Season: Mid-May to July.
Reactive foods: Melon, tomatoes, oranges and grass grains (including wheat, barley, rye, spelt and Kamut).
Season: Late summer and early fall.
Reactive foods: Carrots, celery, coriander, fennel, parsley, pepper and sunflower seeds.
Season: Mid-August until the first frost with a peak in September.
Reactive foods: Apples, bananas, chamomile tea, cucumber, eggplant, melon, sunflower seeds and zucchini.
If it looks like restricting these foods in your diet is going to mean living off of meat alone, don’t eliminate all of them at once if you don’t have to. Use process of elimination to figure out what foods have a negative effect on you and which ones you’re okay with. Cooking these foods can also reduce or eliminate the cross-reaction (that doesn’t really help with melon or oranges, but at least it puts zucchini and eggplant back on the table).