What we eat and drink connects very closely to the allergy symptoms we experience. In this blog, I give a run down of some drinks that are known to be quite problematic for allergy sufferers.
Louise Baillie S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3 @ActiveLouise Ask Louise
17 December 2020
What drinks are bad for allergy sufferers?
If you are prone to symptoms caused by exposure to mould, dust, animal dander or pollen, then you'll want to get your head around this list of drinks that can make the problem worse:
Beer, wine, gin. For many, these are the answer to a stressful week or a special celebration. However, I'm afraid that your favourite tipple could be exacerbating your allergy symptoms.
This is because alcohol is well-known for being high in histamine, the stuff that causes most allergy symptoms. You see, histamine can cause an array of symptoms including itchy eyes, a sore throat and a runny nose. It prompts the mucous membranes to produce more mucus, in order to trap and wash out allergens. Also, the presence of histamine causes the body to increase blood flow to certain areas of the skin, promoting inflammation.
So, as allergies cause an increase in this particular substance, we don't want to add more trouble to the mix by consuming a lot of alcohol.
Unfortunately, caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee also tend to contain high levels of histamine and may, therefore, trigger inflammation and other pesky allergy symptoms.
If you can't give up your favourite latte, why not try a coffee substitute? Bambu is a natural and comforting drink made from ingredients like Turkish figs, malted barley and chicory. This'll give you the feeling of indulging in a nice warm drink, but without the bother of histamine.
The next group of drinks to fall under the banner of 'histamine-loaded' are energy drinks, as these too are filled with caffeine. On top of this, energy drinks are generally packed full of sugars and sweeteners, which are inflammatory. Again, not something we want when suffering from irritated skin, eyes, nose, whatever...
4. Coca cola
1.9 billion servings of coca-cola are consumed each day across 200 countries, according to a 2019 report. (1) It seems a drink with a history spanning over a hundred years is pretty well integrated into our daily lives! Still, if you've got allergies, try giving it a miss.
Coca-cola is another drink with tons of sugar (as much as 16 teaspoons in 600ml – yikes!). Sugar is linked to inflammation so this is only going to add to all the inflammatory symptoms created by your body's reaction to allergens. (2,3) Inflammatory states typically associate with worse allergy symptoms, which is why anti-inflammatory medication is a key component of allergy treatment.
Fizzy orange, lemonade, ginger beer are also high in sugar and high histamine so it isn't just coca-cola we should be wary of.
On top of this, artificial sweeteners, which are present in fizzy drinks, are increasingly being associated with inflammatory flare-ups. (4) Most fizzy drinks also contain preservatives or additives, many of which include citrates, which are mainly produced through fermentation. (5) Fermented foods themselves tend to be higher in histamine.
My Self-Care Tip: Try this low histamine drink
Looking for a drink to help keep your allergy symptoms under control? Try this simple option below!
Both fermented food and drinks such as kombucha are high in histamine. Not only this, histamine-filled foods can cause DAO enzymes to malfunction. Don't know what these enzymes are? Basically, DAO enzymes are responsible for breaking down histamine from food. As a result, the presence of many histamine-filled food and drinks in your diet may cause symptoms to become more pronounced.
Try to opt for fresh food and drinks if you are prone to allergy symptoms – particularly things with a high vitamin C or zinc content which are crucial cofactors for DAO activity. You can find them in the likes of strawberries, broccoli and fresh fish.
Milk can be a problem because it causes inflammation and mucus production in sensitive people (who tend to be those with allergic responses anyway!). (5) This can, therefore, make the likes of a runny nose, congestion, sneezing – all those nasal symptoms linked with allergies – worse.
I suggest opting for dairy-free options when your allergies are at their worst, such as almond and coconut milk.
7. Hot chocolate
It's incredibly comforting, especially when smothered with layers of cream and a pile of marshmallows but, yet again, hot chocolate is a drink that is not going to do your allergies much good. It's full of sugar (inflammatory) and milk (mucus-producing, histamine-laden).
However, there is one alternative. Using good quality cocoa powder mixed with some almond milk or even just some water should provide the comforting effects of this hot drink, without all the undesirable features of a regular hot chocolate.
A.Vogel’s hot chocolate recipe for allergy sufferers
Measure 1 cup of almond milk
Warm in a saucepan or in the microwave.
Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and mix well.
Add honey, cinnamon or vanilla extract if you like your drinks sweeter.