During the allergy season, symptoms such as stuffy noses, puffy eyes, and sore throats can make life harder on your kids. Seasonal allergies can also result in reduced mental clarity, sleep problems, and increased irritability. Both physical and mental symptoms of allergies can be explained by inflammation, which is the body’s natural immune response to outside “invaders” such as toxins or germs. White blood cells trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body as well as the brain when a threat is detected, or a mistaken threat in the case of allergic reactions.
However, allergy season isn’t the only time your kids can be affected by inflammation. In fact, many of the symptoms of ADHD and Autism can be attributed to chronic inflammation, and external factors that increase inflammation can make these symptoms worse. By including foods that help reduce inflammation into your kids’ diet, you can help relieve both temporary seasonal allergy symptoms along with seeing improved mood and mental clarity all-year long.
Foods to Avoid
It’s not much of a surprise that many of the foods generally considered unhealthy are also known to increase inflammation. Among the foods that result in inflammation are starches and refined carbohydrates, fried foods, lard, sugar, and red meats. Artificial margarine that contain trans fats are also major culprits in causing inflammation. If your child has any food allergies, make sure you are avoiding hidden allergens in food that could be making their symptoms worse.
Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Sticking to foods that adhere to the Mediterranean diet is one way to help your kids fight inflammation. This diet avoids red meat in favor of lots of fish, which contain plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids to help fight inflammation and improve heart health. Garlic is another food that is known to reduce inflammation and has even been used since ancient Roman times to fight pain and swelling. Integrating garlic into different types of meals is incredibly easy, so you can make this item essential to keep in your pantry. For many decades, there have been countless studies about turmeric as a highly effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Extra virgin olive oil can be used for cooking plenty of meals and contains monounsaturated fats and the antioxidant oleocanthal, which both help fight inflammation.
Another great food to stock up on in order to help your kids fight inflammation is tomatoes. Tomatoes contain high amounts of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps the body inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory compounds. This is another very versatile food you can include in many types of meals as well. Of course, you also want to make sure your kids are eating plenty of leafy green vegetables which, among other health benefits, will reduce inflammation in your kids and help them experienced less severe allergies and improved mental clarity.
For snack time and dessert, which are both times where kids often prefer starchy or sugary foods that cause inflammation, you can give them healthy alternatives. Dark chocolate that contains 70% cocoa or more is a great-tasting substitute for other unhealthy desserts and is loaded with antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Substituting chips that are full of starch and unhealthy fats with various types of nuts is another way to help your kids eat more anti-inflammatory foods.
Make it a practice to feed your kids foods that reduce inflammation and you can likely begin to see improvements in their mental focus, sleep, and mood during the allergy season and beyond.