Seasonal allergies can be a nuisance, causing symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, and congestion. While most people are aware of common triggers such as pollen and dust, there are certain foods that can also worsen seasonal allergy symptoms.

In this article, we will explore nine surprising foods that could exacerbate your allergies. By being mindful of your diet and making informed choices, you can potentially alleviate some of the discomfort associated with seasonal allergies.

Foods that can worsen seasonal allergies


While tomatoes are considered a nutritious fruit, they can be problematic for individuals with seasonal allergies. This is due to their high histamine content. Histamine is a natural compound that triggers allergy symptoms, and certain foods can stimulate its release. Tomatoes, particularly when consumed in large quantities or in highly concentrated forms such as tomato paste or sauces, can lead to an increase in histamine levels. If you notice that your allergy symptoms worsen after consuming tomatoes, consider reducing your intake or trying alternatives like red bell peppers.

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, are popular for their high vitamin C content and refreshing flavours. However, they can aggravate seasonal allergies in certain people. Citrus fruits contain citric acid, a chemical that can serve as a natural histamine releaser, causing allergy symptoms. Furthermore, their acidic nature may cause throat irritation and exacerbate existing allergy-related throat discomfort. If you notice greater congestion or throat irritation after eating citrus fruits, you should minimise your consumption throughout allergy season.

Fermented foods

Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt are frequently lauded for their probiotic properties. They can, however, be a concern for people who suffer from seasonal allergies. Fermented foods go through a bacterial fermentation process, which might result in histamine synthesis. Consuming fermented foods with high levels of histamine may cause or worsen allergy symptoms. If you notice that your allergies worsen after eating fermented foods, you should consider switching to non-dairy yogurt or taking probiotic supplements.

Spicy foods

While spicy foods can add flavour to your meals, they can also aggravate seasonal allergies. Chilli peppers and hot sauces contain capsaicin, a chemical that gives them their blazing heat. Capsaicin can produce nasal congestion, sneezing, and other allergy symptoms by stimulating the release of histamine. Spicy meals can also irritate the mucous membranes, increasing pre-existing allergy-related inflammation. If you discover a link between your allergy symptoms and your consumption of spicy foods, consider cutting back or switching to milder options.

Certain nuts

Nuts are a frequent allergen, but certain varieties may aggravate seasonal allergies due to histamine levels. Histamine production and allergy responses have been linked to walnuts, cashews, and peanuts in susceptible individuals. If you have a known allergy to nuts and suffer enhanced allergy symptoms after eating them, you should avoid or limit your consumption. It should be noted, however, that not everyone with seasonal allergies will be impacted by nuts, and individual sensitivities can vary.


While shellfish such as shrimp, lobster, and crab are delectable delights for many, they can cause allergic reactions in those who are sensitive. Shellfish allergies are among the most prevalent food allergies, causing rashes, itching, swelling, and even more serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing.

Interestingly, some persons who are allergic to shellfish may also be allergic to particular pollens, resulting in exacerbated seasonal allergy symptoms. If you have a shellfish allergy, you should exercise caution throughout allergy season because shellfish allergens might exacerbate your allergic reactions.

Dried fruits

Dried fruits are commonly seen as a healthful snack, however they might aggravate seasonal allergies. Some fruits may be sulfite-treated during the drying process to maintain their colour and texture. Sulfites are known to cause allergy-like symptoms in sensitive people, such as respiratory problems and hives. Dried fruits are also sticky and can harbor mold spores, which can be an allergen for some people. If you have worsened allergy symptoms after eating dried fruits, consider switching to fresh fruit alternatives or selecting sulfite-free products.

Wheat-based products

Consuming wheat-based foods can aggravate seasonal allergy symptoms in people who have wheat allergies or sensitivities. Wheat includes gliadin, a protein to which some people are sensitive or intolerant. Wheat allergies can cause nasal congestion, sneezing, and itchy eyes, which can be confused with seasonal allergy symptoms.

Furthermore, because wheat is a prevalent ingredient in many processed goods, it is critical to carefully read food labels. If you suspect you have a wheat allergy or intolerance, removing or limiting wheat-based products from your diet may help relieve allergic and seasonal allergy symptoms.

Artificial food Additives

Artificial food additives, such as artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives, are common in processed meals and may aggravate seasonal allergy symptoms. In certain people, these chemicals can cause histamine release or other inflammatory responses, resulting in allergy-like symptoms. Furthermore, certain food colorings, such as tartrazine, have been linked to an increase in allergy sensitivity and asthma symptoms.

To minimize the influence of artificial additives on your allergies, choose natural, unprocessed foods whenever possible and read labels to avoid foods containing artificial ingredients.

Concluding thoughts

Finally, it is critical to be cautious of the foods we eat throughout allergy season, as some may aggravate seasonal allergy symptoms. Surprisingly, foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, fermented foods, spicy foods, and certain nuts might contribute to elevated histamine levels or mucous membrane irritation, resulting in worsened allergy symptoms. Individuals with seasonal allergies may find some relief by recognising and avoiding these trigger foods.

However, keep in mind that everyone’s sensitivities and reactions differ, so it’s essential to pay attention to your body’s response and make smart dietary choices to properly manage your allergies. Consultation with a healthcare expert or allergist can provide tailored advice on how to manage allergies and dietary factors.

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