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Natural Awakenings Boston

Beat Allergies with Antioxidants

Apr 29, 2013 01:22PM ● By Molly Robson

New England has seen some very unusual weather patterns this year. As a result, more people are suffering earlier from seasonal allergies, a trend that will likely continue through May and perhaps even June. People who experience symptoms of hay fever, otherwise known as allergic rhinitis, may be in for a long, miserable spring.

Signs and symptoms of spring hay fever include frequent sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, wheezing, an itchy and irritated throat and a runny, itchy and blocked nose. These symptoms worsen when the pollen count rises. Temporary relief can come in the form of such overthe-counter medicines as Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin and Zyrtec, but there are also more natural ways to improve and even prevent these symptoms through diet.

Allergies are an immune system response. In the case of hay fever, the cells that line the eyes and nose release histamines when pollen reaches them. This causes inflammation and sneezing. One family of nutrients that can make a huge difference in all manner of inflammatory conditions is antioxidants, which support the immune system and work to protect against, and repair, free radical damage that can lead to cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

These fruits, vegetable and plantbased “superfoods” are identified by their bright colors. The brighter the color, the more antioxidants they contain. For example, blueberries have a high antioxidant count (especially when organically grown) in the form of vitamin C and anthocyanins, which give these berries their beautiful purple-blue color. Other foods rich in antioxidants include raspberries, blackberries, cherries, red grapes, green tea, garlic, onion, broccoli, carrots, leafy greens, beets, chili pepper, bell peppers and tomatoes.

Below is an allergy-friendly, antioxidant-rich recipe that’s flavored and colored with fresh, organic blueberries. The recipe uses walnuts, but almonds or pecans can easily be substituted. These delicious, glutenand dairy-free treats are sweetened with honey and supply a daily dose of antioxidants.

Blueberry Coconut Cake Bites

Yields 15 servings

½ cup walnuts
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup coconut flour (or another
½ cup shredded coconut)
½ cup pitted dates
½ cup organic blueberries 1 Tbsp raw local honey
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Place the walnuts and dates in a food processor and grind to the texture of coarse sand. Add the remaining ingredients and process again until ingredients come together in a dough-like consistency. The dough should stick together without being too wet (add more coconut flour, if needed) or too dry (add a splash of water in this case). Remove in spoonfuls and roll into small ball shapes. Place in cupcake cases (optional) in a sealable container and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Keep cakes refrigerated for up to a week.

Molly Robson, NC, is a certified holistic nutrition consultant. For more information visit, call 617-678-3108 or contact [email protected].

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