Great foods that’ll help your child fight allergies

Power up your munchkin’s immunity ― include these foods as part of a balanced diet to protect them from allergies!

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Whatever allergies your child suffers from, this condition will have a far-reaching effect on their well-being. They will need to be extra vigilant of the food they take and the things they do.

Dr Lydia Wong, associate consultant at NUH’s division of paediatric allergy, immunology and rheumatology, points out that besides a good diagnosis, avoiding all possible triggers helps your tyke copes with their allergies and reduces the amount of medication they need.

Indeed, it is usually advisable for your child to carry antihistamine medication with them to prevent or treat an allergic reaction. These drugs may cause them to feel drowsy, especially for first-generation ones like chlorpheniramine, she notes.

Dr Wong cautions that you pay close attention to your child the first time you give them new medication, in case of allergic reactions.

The newer generation of antihistamines such as Cetirizine (commonly marketed as Zyrtec), Loratidine (commonly marketed as Claritin), and Fexofenadine are less likely to cause drowsiness. Cetirizine and Fexofenadine are also the only two antihistamines licenced to be used by aged 6 months and older. Any other forms of antihistamines should only be given when your child is aged 2 or older.

Dr Wong cautions that you pay close attention to your child the first time you give them new medication, in case of allergic reactions.

Other than medication, you can beef up your kewpie’s immunity with a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables. Some of these may even feature natural antihistamine qualities as well.
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While Dr Wong stresses there is no evidence to suggest that certain foods contain sufficient amounts of antihistamines, you can introduce these as part of your child’s balanced diet. Just remember to give your mini-me appropriate servings and “according to [their] ability to chew and swallow different textures,” Dr Wong adds.

Natural antihistamines are found in the following foods:

Quercetin

COMMONLY FOUND IN… Onions, apples, berries, dill, cilantro, green leafy vegetables.
HOW IT HELPS Quercetin is a chemical with antihistamine properties that fights inflammation and nasal congestion.

Bromelain

COMMONLY FOUND IN… Pineapples.
HOW IT HELPS Reduces any swelling in the body, especially your mini-me’s sinuses and also can offer pain-relief effects by reducing inflammation. However, you should note that in excessive amounts, bromelain may also inhibit blood clotting.

Vitamin C

COMMONLY FOUND IN… Oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, papaya, mangoes.
HOW IT HELPS Its antioxidant qualities alleviates allergic symptoms, relieves runny nose and sneezing, while enhancing your tyke’s immunity.

Just remember to give your mini-me appropriate servings and “according to [their] ability to chew and swallow different textures,” Dr Wong adds.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

COMMONLY FOUND IN… Salmon, walnuts, almonds, pumpkins, kidney beans, mung beans, avocadoes.
HOW IT HELPS It has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which boosts immunity as well as brain function and development.

Allicin

COMMONLY FOUND IN… Garlic, onions, chives, leeks.
HOW IT HELPS This naturally occurring chemical is believed to improve mucus flow and reduce nasal congestion by thinning the mucus. Also, it has anti-inflammatory properties to ward off infections.

Capsaicin

COMMONLY FOUND IN… Capsicum, peppers, paprika, ginger.
HOW IT HELPS Thinning mucus while stimulating the sinuses to boost air circulation throughout the respiratory system and relieve nasal congestion.

6-Gingerol

COMMONLY FOUND IN… Ginger.
HOW IT HELPS It reduces your body’s ability to secrete mucus, hence preventing your nasal passages from clogging up, allowing you to breathe easier.

Photos: iStock

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