Omega-3 fatty acids in seafood have natural anti-inflammatory effects that boost the immune system — and most allergies happen when your immune system is out of whack, according to Dr. William Sears, author of the upcoming book, The Omega-3 Effect.
“If you were to come into my office with seasonal allergies and say to me, ‘Dr. Bill, I would like the best and safest medicine for my allergies,’ I would surprise you by scribbling on prescription pad, ‘Eat 6 ounces of Alaskan salmon twice a week,'” says Dr. Sears.
According to Dr. Sears, patients frequently complain about dry skin and eczema during the allergy season, and fish can alleviate those irritations. “All the ‘itises’ — dermatitis, bronchitis, arthritis, colitis — all of them are made better by the more seafood you eat,” says Dr. Sears. “Because omega-3s have total anti-inflammatory effects, sometimes people will notice that when I treat them with fish, their skin is softer and their asthma is better.”
In the same 2007 study looking at pregnant women and apple consumption, researchers found that moms who ate fish during pregnancy reduced the risk of their children developing asthma or allergic diseases. The kids whose moms ate fish one or more times a week were less likely to have eczema than children of mothers who never ate fish.
Dr. Sears’ top 3 fish picks:
1. Wild Alaskan salmon: “This is my top pick because it has the most nutrients, with the least amount of pollutants, that are best for allergies,” he says.
2. Alaskan tuna: Dr. Sears recommends Alaskan seafood because it is well policed and regulated. (Tuna is high in mercury, however, which means that certain at-risk groups, like pregnant women and children should limit consumption.)
3. Anchovies and sardines
If you’re not a fish fan, you can try omega-3 and algae supplements or fish oil to boost your allergy defenses.
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