Fight Winter Allergies With Papaya and Pineapple

Just when you thought you were safe for the winter, your allergies strike. Often your furnace or heating system is to blame for releasing particles of dust, mold, pollen, and other allergens that become trapped throughout the year.

The latest research indicates that papaya and pineapples are a natural way to manage allergies and allergy-related inflammation.

"Both fruits are high in enzymes which will help [you] digest foods...and can also help mop up allergens that are in the blood stream," says Carolyn Dean MD ND, a member of the medical advisory board of the Nutritional Magnesium Association and author of more 30 books on holistic health and wellness topics.

"Papaya contains the enzyme papain and pineapples contain bromelain," Dean explains. "They are the only natural sources of these powerful digestive enzymes. But not only can these enzymes aid digestion—they have also been found to aid sinus-related issues."

For instance, the National Institute of Health (NIH) reveals that bromelain also prompts the body to produce chemicals that can reduce sinus inflammation. Papain works in a similar fashion, creating enzymes that break down proteins and treat swelling. While each fruit has its own unique benefits, many researchers believe that combining the two enzymes together will have the biggest impact.

Using This Alternative Treatment for Best Results

Although most people will tolerate both fruits well, Dean says that in rare cases, someone can have an allergy to papaya and eating too much pineapple can cause tiny blisters on the tongue from too much acidity. For best results, she recommends alternating papaya and pineapple every other day, "so as not to eat too much fruit and to not cause potential allerg[ies] to either."

She says it's also important to continue using your allergy medication as directed. However, the good news is that you may be able to wean off most traditional treatments as your symptoms improve over time.

You can buy payapas and pineapples in most grocery stores year-round. Or opt for papaya enzymes, which are sold in many health food stores.

Other Natural Allergy Treatments

Dean points out that there are other foods that also fight inflammation and help keep symptoms at bay. Foods with magnesium are great for reducing allergies because the mineral is a natural antihistamine.

"Anti-inflammatory foods are often found among produce, where more color means a higher vitamin content," she points out. Many other fruits are also quite beneficial. A number of recent studies, including well-known findings published in the Thorax journal in 2007, looked at the health and eating choices of children in the Greek island of Crete reinforcing the health benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Eat Away Your Symptoms

Some of Dean's top food picks for allergy relief include:

  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Plums
  • Purple grapes
  • Red pears
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Grapefruit
  • Deep green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Kelp

Dean also stressed that with allergies, what you don't eat can be as important as what you do.

"When the immune system is weakened by junk food, sugar, wheat, and dairy, it's more susceptible to yeast overgrowth and nasal membrane irritation that can allow inhaled allergens to be absorbed into the blood stream and food allergens to be absorbed through a leaky gut," she points out. Therefore, if your allergies are holding you back from enjoying your favorite winter activities, it may be worth taking a close look at your diet and determining what to add, and what to cut to help you feel your best.

Dr. Carolyn Dean reviewed this article.




Chatzi, Leda. "Protective effect of fruits, vegetables and the Mediterranean diet on asthma and allergies among children in Crete." Thorax 62 8 (2007):677-678. Web. 8 Oct. 2012. "In Season: Pineapple." N.d. Web. 3 Oct. 2012.

Dean, Carolyn, MD ND, Medical Advisory Board of the Nutritional Magnesium Association. Email interview 6 Oct. 2012.

Healthy.Happy.Life. "Papaya and Pineapple for Winter Allergies." Posted by Kathy on 1/13/2011. Web. 2 Oct. 2012.

Medline Plus. National Institutes of Health (NIH). "Bromelain." 6 July 2011. Web. 8 Oct. 2012.