Overcoming Seasonal Allergies

What are Seasonal Allergies?

Spring is known to trigger the onset of immune responses for seasonal allergy sufferers. Seasonal allergies occur when the immune system releases histamines into the bloodstream which initiate immune responses to combat foreign substances called allergens. Symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and congestion can make it difficult to function and enjoy outdoor activities once the weather gets warmer and the days get longer. While medications like antihistamines and nasal sprays can provide relief, these are not the most sustainable strategies to manage allergy episodes.

Fortunately, some foods can help alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms naturally. By incorporating certain nutrients and compounds into your diet, you may be able to reduce inflammation, boost your immune defenses, and minimize allergy-related discomfort. Read below to find out how nutrition practices can help to curb your seasonal allergies and strengthen your immune system.

Nutrients that Help Curb Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Vitamin D

Regulates the immune system to prevent release of chemicals that exacerbate allergen responses or diseases. Adequate intake may prevent allergic rhinitis development and inflammation. Inadequate intake or deficiency may lead to allergen diseases later in life.

PLANT-BASED SOURCES: mushrooms, fortified almond or soy milk or orange juice
TRY AT CAFE GRATITUDE: I Am Fortunate Shitake Mushroom Tartine

Vitamin C

Makes for a great natural alternative to antihistamine therapy and uses its antioxidant power to protect cells from damage and eases the severity of allergic reactions/immune responses.

PLANT-BASED SOURCES: citrus, bell peppers, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, strawberries
TRY AT CAFE GRATITUDE: “I Am Illuminated” Smoothie or “I Am Giving” Margherita Pizza

Vitamin E

The Gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E decreases allergy-related inflammation and helps ease inflammation in nasal passages.

PLANT-BASED SOURCES: sunflower seeds, almonds, avocado, peanuts/peanut butter, leafy green vegetables
TRY AT CAFE GRATITUDE: “I Am Peaceful” Avocado Toast or “I Am Glowing” Green Smoothie


A flavonoid that is known for its antioxidant activity and anti-allergic properties. It stimulates immune responses, inhibits histamine release, promotes antiviral activity, and decreases in pro-inflammatory cytokines.

PLANT-BASED SOURCES: apples, onions, peppers, grapes, cherries, berries, tomatoes, broccoli, green tea
TRY AT CAFE GRATITUDE: “I Am Plentiful” Juice

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) are strong anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids that help support immune function and anti-inflammatory environments in the body, which can reduce overall intensity of allergy symptom onset.

PLANT-BASED SOURCES: flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts
TRY AT CAFE GRATITUDE: “I Am Renewed” Chia Pudding Blue Bowl or “I Am Connected” Salad w/ Walnut Taco Meat


An enzyme found in pineapple stem that demonstrates anti-inflammatory efficiency. Bromelain may have inhibitory effects on allergic responses for allergy and asthma and may reduce allergy sensitivity.

TRY AT CAFE GRATITUDE: “I Am Giving” Hawaiian Pizza

Top Seasonal Allergy Nutrition Hacks to Use at Cafe Gratitude

  1. Have green tea in the morning with local honey. Green tea has a powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound with anti-inflammatory properties, along with quercetin, another antioxidant that helps to inhibit the release of histamine, a compound that triggers allergy symptoms. Local honey helps to desensitize the immune system to pollen over time.
    TRY: “I Am Vibrant” Matcha Latte
  2. Increase intake of natural probiotic foods for its anti-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects.
    TRY: “I Am Glorious” Tempeh Wrap, “I Am Enthusiastic” Fried Mushroom Sandwich w/ Pickles, “I Am Whole" Macrobiotic Bowl w/ Kimchee and “I Am Phenomenal” Shiitake & Smoked Tofu Pho, “I Am Blessed” Butternut Squash Pasta Bolognese w/ Blackened Tempeh
  3. Utilize sinus clearing spices: fennel, horseradish, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger, spicy mustard, and curry in order to stimulate mucosal cilia to help break up congestion.
    TRY: “I Am Resourceful” Salad w/ Fennel, “I Am Cozy” Tea w/ Cayenne, “I Am Mystical” Adaptogenic Hot Chocolate w/ Cinnamon and “I Am Grace” Coconut Cream Smoothie w/ Cinnamon
  4. Increase intake of foods rich in vitamin C for its anti-histamine effects on allergy responses.
    TRY: “I Am Illuminated” Vitamin C Power Smoothie, “I Am Replenished” Vitality Powerhouse Wellness Shot, the “I Am Vivid” Acai Superfood Bowl or even try our full juice cleanse for a massive boost of vitamin C and calming effects on stubborn allergy symptoms
  5. Look for natural allergy relief with bioflavonoid, Quercetin, found in apples, onions, peppers, grapes, cherries, berries, tomatoes, broccoli, and green tea. Look for our menu items that feature these nutrient-packed foods to begin incorporating these allergy relievers into your weekly diet plan!
    TRY: “I Am Hearty” Housemade Tofu Scramble w/ Cherry Tomato Confit and the “Plentiful” Juice w/ apples, grapes, and cranberries

Main Takeaway

Overall, focusing on a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet can help to support immune function, reduce inflammation, and alleviate allergy symptoms. Come visit us at Cafe Gratitude for some spring favorites that not only provide outstanding flavor but more importantly, offer immune health benefits to help you build your seasonal allergen defenses.


Jayne Pinsky, Gracias Madre’s Resident Dietitian, RD


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  2. Mlcek J, Jurikova T, Skrovankova S, Sochor J. Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response. Molecules. 2016;21(5):623. Published 2016 May 12. doi:10.3390/molecules21050623
  3. Yang G, Liu ZQ, Yang PC. Treatment of allergic rhinitis with probiotics: an alternative approach. N Am J Med Sci. 2013;5(8):465-468. doi:10.4103/1947-2714.117299
  4. Lopez-Santamarina A, Gonzalez EG, Lamas A, Mondragon ADC, Regal P, Miranda JM. Probiotics as a Possible Strategy for the Prevention and Treatment of Allergies. A Narrative Review. Foods. 2021;10(4):701. Published 2021 Mar 25. doi:10.3390/foods10040701
  5. Secor ER Jr, Szczepanek SM, Castater CA, et al. Bromelain Inhibits Allergic Sensitization and Murine Asthma via Modulation of Dendritic Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:702196. doi:10.1155/2013/702196