If you’re prone to hives—those raised itchy red bumps that seem to pop up out of nowhere—you know they often appear at the worst times. Such as right before a big job interview, on your wedding day or when you’re fighting your way through the flu.
Hives can be a straightforward allergic reaction to a food, drug or substance you’ve touched such as a chemical or pet hair. Or in my case modeling clay, as my mother can tell you.
But those of us who get them often know they can also raise their ugly little heads when we’re feeling stressed, exercising, are sick, sweat a lot, get very cold, are exposed to sun or even when our skin is simply under pressure.
In other words, nearly any time.
Hives can pop up when your body overreacts
If it’s your first ever case of hives or you’re experiencing other allergic symptoms such as wheezing or trouble breathing, you should see a doctor right away. But for many of us, although our hives are incredibly annoying, they’re also often harmless.
Allergic hives occur when your mast cells release a surge of histamines and other chemicals into your skin. These chemicals dilate your blood vessels increasing blood flow to the areas of your body affected by the allergen.
This causes inflammation, triggering your immune system to release repair chemicals. These chemicals then help to clear away the allergen and fix any damage that’s been done.
But, in some cases, your body overreacts, and you break out in hives.
You can pop an antihistamine drug, which can make you feel groggy and out of it. Or since common hives typically last no longer than 24 hours you can you can grin and bear it, and try not to scratch.
But if neither sounds appealing to you, there’s a third option.
Get rid of hives faster with food
It turns out certain foods have natural antihistamine properties. That means eating them could help send those ugly itchy bumps packing sooner.
Following are four foods that can help you get rid of hives faster.
Watercress is a dark leafy green with a delicious peppery bite. It’s terrific on sandwiches and fantastic in salads. But watercress isn’t just tasty. This often overlooked veggie is brimming with nutrients too.
The blood pressure regulating potassium, calcium, magnesium and nitrates alone are enough reason to eat more of this green. Add a cup to a salad and you will be getting over 100 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K. And with plenty of vitamin C and A plus cancer fighting 3,3′-diindolylmethane there are plenty of reasons to add watercress to your shopping list.
But the watercress benefits don’t end there. Experts say this unassuming leafy green could also help get rid of hives. According to a study published in the journal Biological Pharmaceutical Bulletin, watercress suppresses an incredible 60 percent of the histamines released by your mast cells.1
You already know what they say about apples and the doctor. But it turns out this sweet treat could also help us keep the hives away too.
Apples, particularly their skins, are full of disease fighting flavonoids and polyphenols. They provide brain-friendly pectin and heart-supporting antioxidants. And with plenty of multi-tasking ursolic acid, experts say they could help us fight muscle aging, cancer and even obesity.
But researchers say it’s the fruit’s quercetin content that could help get rid of hives. This potent bioflavonoid can help inhibit the release of histamines.2
We’ve sung the praises of the humble onion before. With their hearty crunch and delicious bite, onions make the perfect addition to salads, sandwiches, soups and more. But their health benefits are what should keep you coming back.
Onions are natural prebiotics, which means they support the growth of your healthy gut bugs or probiotics. The sulfur in onions can help suppress tumors, especially in the digestive tract. Researchers say they can help combat asthma, colds and coughs. And they provide plenty of heart friendly flavonoids.
But it’s how onions effect histamines that could help get rid of hives. According to research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, onions provide a one two punch against hives.3 Onions stabilize mast cells, suppressing the release of histamines. Plus they target the histamines already circulating in your blood, lowering their levels.
If you started eating more pomegranates after we told you about the research showing they help protect your brain health and noticed you were having less problems with your allergies after you did, it was no coincidence.
Experts say this delicious ancient fruit could help ward off allergic reactions.
Loaded with nutrients including disease fighting polyphenols, anthocyanins and antioxidants research has found that pomegranates could help inhibit histamines. A study published in the Journal of Inflammation found extracts from the fruit are mast cell stabilizers.4
Next time you break out in hives, skip the drugs and don’t grin and bear it. Reach for one of these histamine fighting foods and get rid of hives faster.
1. “Constituents in Watercress: Inhibitors of Histamine Release from RBL-2H3 Cells Induced by Antigen Stimulation,” Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, Vol. 22 (1999) No. 12 P 1319-1326
2. “Inhibitory Effects of Apple Polyphenol on Induced Histamine Release from RBL-2H3 Cells and Rat Mast Cells,” Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, Volume 62, 1998 – Issue 7
3. “Anti-Allergic Effects of Herbal Product from Allium cepa (Bulb),” Journal of Medicinal Food, May 2009, 12(2): 374-382
4.”Polyphenol-rich pomegranate fruit extract (POMx) suppresses PMACI-induced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines by inhibiting the activation of MAP Kinases and NF-κB in human KU812 cells,” Journal of Inflammation, 2009, 6
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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