Winter is known for being ‘sniffles’ season but it turns out that for many people, it has nothing to do with colds. If you’re dealing with a stuffy nose from November to spring, you are in fact very likely suffering from winter allergies. Although pollen, the culprit for most respiratory allergies, is absent during winter months (assuming you live in the Northern hemisphere), other allergens can cause issues. In fact, most common allergies are due to indoor things, a place where we spend a lot more time once snow makes its arrival. Dust mites, animal dander, mold, and even cockroach droppings (ew!) are all potential enemies to your immune system this time of year.

Besides keeping a clean house and investing in an air filter, paying attention to your diet can also help you lessen the impact of allergens. Of course, if you’re dealing with a serious case of allergies, consulting your doctor and managing your situation with medication is the way to go, but for milder cases, the food we eat can overall make us feel better.


Want to know more about the potential impact of diet on winter allergies? Check out these 7 fruits and veggies and start cooking these recipes from the Food Monster App!

1. Red Bell PepperMarinated Red Pepper Preserves 2

Full of vitamin C (it contains twice the amount found in oranges!), red bell peppers not only contribute to strengthening our immune system during winter months but they actually also help lower histamine levels in our bodies. As you know, histamine is a major contributor in allergic reactions. Eating vitamin C rich foods such as bell peppers might reduce your histamine levels by up to 40 percent, research shows. Isn’t that amazing?

Think eating red peppers is worth a try to help with your allergies? We suggest making these delicious Marinated Red Pepper Preserves, pictured above. You can also get your fill of vitamin C with this Roasted Red Pepper, Chickpea, and Spinach Curry, this Red Pepper Risotto, and this Raw Tomato Red Pepper Soup!

2. Brussels SproutsBrussels Sprouts Stir Fry 1

These little cabbages might not be everyone’s cup of tea but they are full of phytosterols which, in the case of preventing allergies, is a great thing! These naturally occurring substances in plant cell walls have immune-modulating properties that play an important role in dampening the effect of cytokines, overactive antibodies responsible for allergic reactions.


Want to get all the allergy-fighting benefits of Brussels sprouts without the bad taste you remember as a kid? Check out these 5 Ways to Get Anyone to Love Brussels Sprouts! Then, try out these Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry, pictured above. You can also make these Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Apples and Chestnuts, this Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Apple Stuffing, and these Balsamic Brussels Sprouts With Shiitake Bacon. They’re perfect for your holiday table!

3. Cranberries

These tart berries aren’t only for festivities, they’re great for winter allergies season. See, they contain antioxidants called quercetin that inhibit the release of histamine and also decrease the pro-inflammatory effect of cytokines antibodies. Plant extract of quercetin is actually being looked at as an ingredient for many potential anti-allergic drugs. The question is, why not take advantage of cranberries who are naturally packed with them?

Make this Festive Cranberry Sauce, pictured above, this Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash, Cranberries, and Pecans, or this Orange Infused Cranberry Sauce. You also have to check out Go Beyond the Sauce! 10 Amazing Recipes With Cranberries for more delicious ideas.

4. Sea VegetablesCarrot and Soba Noodles With Sea Vegetables

We all know that eating omega-3 rich food like sea vegetables is important for our brain functions but it turns out that it may also help with allergy symptoms. Studies suggest that food containing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may play a role in reducing inflammation related to asthma and allergic diseases. That’s because omega-3s fatty acids assist in the production of three mediators of inflammation in our airway, protectins, resolvins, and maresins.


Want to get more familiar with sea vegetables? Here’s All You Ever Wanted to Know About Sea Vegetables! Then, we suggest you give these Carrot and Soba Noodles With Sea Vegetables, pictured above, a try. You can also check out this Edamame Seaweed Salad, these Seaweed and Seitan ‘Mussels’ in a Zesty Marinade, and this Chinese Seaweed Salad.

5. Capers

If you’re unfamiliar with capers, they are a condiment packed with flavor, made from the flower buds of the caper bush. Aside from their ability to infuse simple dishes with flavor (you got to try this Orecchiette With Capers and White Wine, pictured above!), they are also a great ally for winter allergy sufferers.


Capers contain a high amount of quercetin, the antioxidant that is able to regulate the release of histamine and reduces the amount of inflammatory antibodies related to allergic reactions.

You can add these Crispy Smashed Potatoes With Caper Aioli, this Black Olive, Caper, and Radicchio Pie, this Caramelized Onion, Caper, and Mushroom Tart, and this Penne With Broccoli, Chili, and Capers to your weekly dinner meal rotation this winter and see if it helps with your allergies.

6. Walnuts

Walnuts are a good source of omega-3s fatty acids which, as we’ve seen, are important players in our immune system when it comes to allergies. These fatty acids especially help in alleviating allergy symptoms due to their regulatory role in lowering inflammation causing antibodies in our airway.

Not sure how to include more nuts in your diet besides the obvious healthy snack? Walnuts go well in savory dishes like this Savory Walnut and Mushroom Bolognese, pictured above, this Walnut Taco Meat, this Fresh Herb Walnut Pâté, and this Walnut Lentil Loaf. You can also try these Walnut-Crusted Artichoke Hearts which are a great appetizer for any holiday celebration!


7. GarlicGarlic and Herb Cream Cheese 1

Not only is garlic a marvelous flavor-enhancer for most dishes but it’s also very allergy-friendly. It contains a range of compounds called gallic acids who play a role in modulating inflammatory responses in our immune system. Thus, eating garlic on a regular basis can help lessen symptoms of allergies because of its effect at the root of the immune response to antigens. That’s great new if you suffer from allergies and love garlic as much as we do!

Get all the benefits and deliciousness of garlic with this Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese, pictured above, or try out this Roasted Garlic Tomato Spaghettini With Garlic ‘Parmesan’ Bread Crumbs, this Garlic and Thyme Pan Seared Mushrooms, and these classic Quick Rise Garlic Breads.

If you want to find more delicious recipes featuring allergy-friendly ingredients perfect for the winter season, we recommend downloading the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Shutterstock