Quick Home Remedies for Mild Food Allergies

About 32 million people in the United States have food allergies. A food allergy occurs when a person's immune system overreacts to a food, identifying it as a threat and triggering a protective response.

Although there is no cure for food allergies, they can be managed with treatment and prevention.
Severe reactions from food allergies can be life-threatening and often require immediate medical attention, but mild reactions can usually be treated using home remedies.

This article will discuss home remedies to help treat mild food allergies.

Asian woman carrying a shopping basket, standing along the dairy aisle, reading the nutrition label on a bottle.

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Food Sensitivity vs. Food Allergy

Food sensitivity, or food intolerance, is a condition triggered by the digestive system. It causes unpleasant but non-life-threatening gastrointestinal symptoms. In contrast, a food allergy is a potentially life-threatening condition when a person's immune system sees a particular food as harmful and reacts by causing allergic symptoms.

Home Remedies for Mild Reactions

The best way to avoid unpleasant symptoms of a food allergy is by avoiding the food entirely. However, if you experience a mild reaction after coming in contact with a food you’re allergic to, you can try the following remedies to ease your symptoms naturally.

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea has been used to treat many ailments, including nausea and digestive problems. It remains a popular home remedy to ease an upset stomach and fight inflammation.

Ginger is believed to help speed up digestion, which may benefit those with stomach discomfort and indigestion caused by trigger foods. It can also prevent gas and reduce bloating and cramping.

According to sinus experts, inhaling the steam from ginger tea can also help alleviate congestion.

You can make ginger tea by boiling peeled or grated ginger in water.

Probiotics

Unbalanced bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, also known as dysbiosis, is believed to play a role in many chronic conditions, including food allergies.

Although more research is needed, many studies suggest that probiotics provide healthy bacteria to repopulate the gut, which can help prevent food allergies.

Foods rich in probiotics include:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Natto
  • Pickles

Alternatively, you can discuss taking a probiotic supplement with your healthcare provider.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are over-the-counter (OTC) medications used to decrease the symptoms of mild allergies. They work by lowering or blocking the chemicals (histamines) that your body releases when it comes in contact with an allergen.

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is often the most popular antihistamine used to treat food allergies because it starts to work pretty quickly (15-60 minutes) and is easy to find in stores. Zyrtec (cetirizine) is also a promising treatment option because it provides symptom relief with less drowsiness than Benadryl.

Lemon

Lemons are high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps maintain a robust immune system and protects against infection and disease.

One older study found that long-term lemon use reduced symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes associated with severe allergic rhinitis.

You can slice a lemon, put it in water, and drink it throughout the day, or squeeze the juice from one or two lemons and dilute it with water to get the potential benefits of lemons.

Green Tea

Green tea is rich in antioxidants and can help fight inflammation. Some studies suggest it can also hinder mast cell activation and block histamines.

Quercetin, a flavonoid found in green tea, may help stabilize the cells that release histamine in the body, resulting in an antihistamine effect. It also has other potential health benefits, such as protecting against heart disease and cancer.

Moreover, animal studies suggest quercetin may help control a peanut allergy. However, green tea allergies also exist.

Ginger

In addition to helping relieve stomach discomfort, ginger works to block histamine. It's also beneficial for your immune function.

Some scientists believe ginger extract may be as effective as Claritin (loratadine) at treating nasal symptoms and quality of life in people with allergic rhinitis.

Ginger can be used dried, powdered, fresh, or dried. It's also a great addition to many dishes and juices.

Carrot Juice

Carrot juice is a more uncommon home remedy used to alleviate allergy symptoms. However, it is chock-full of nutrients, providing carotenoids, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K.

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to increase immune cell numbers and activity. Vitamins A and C can protect immune cells from free radical damage and support a strong immune system.

Although carrot juice is beneficial, drinking large amounts can lead to carotenemia, which can cause your skin to turn slightly yellowish.

Other Remedies

If you continue to notice a particular food causing a reaction, the best thing to do is stop eating it. Because symptoms can vary from one exposure to the next, making it impossible to predict the severity of the following reaction, do not try to eat the food again.

Although more research is needed, some studies suggest traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and Chinese herbal medication, may provide symptom relief.

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting hair-thin needles into the body at strategic points to relieve specific symptoms.

If you've experienced a food reaction in the past, your healthcare provider may also prescribe an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen), which is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis.

Mild Food Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms can affect different areas of the body and range from mild to severe. They usually appear within a few minutes to two hours after exposure to the trigger food. Mild symptoms include:

  • Itchy, runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy mouth
  • Hives
  • Mild nausea
  • Abdominal discomfort

When to Go to the Emergency Room

Food allergy symptoms that seem mild initially can quickly become a medical emergency. If you notice rapidly worsening symptoms, you may be experiencing a potentially life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis and should seek help immediately.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Wheezing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Significant facial swelling (other than just the lips)
  • Hives all over
  • Chest tightness
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble swallowing

Prevention

The only way to prevent mild and severe reactions is to avoid the food that triggers a response. If you cannot narrow it down to a specific food or ingredient, consider visiting with your healthcare provider, who can conduct a series of tests to help pinpoint food triggers.

Additionally, carefully checking food labels to avoid foods that cause allergic reactions is vital.

Thankfully, the Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) was passed to help those with food allergies and their caregivers to identify and avoid foods that contain major food allergens. Manufacturers of packaged foods must identify any of the eight common food allergens (egg, milk, soy, fish, peanut, tree nut, wheat, and crustacean shellfish) in their products.

Summary

Food allergies can be life-threatening, but not all reactions require immediate medical attention. The best way to prevent reactions caused by food allergies is to avoid the food you're allergic to. However, if you come in contact with a trigger food, there are several steps you can take at home to get relief. For example, sipping ginger tea, eating probiotic-rich foods, and taking antihistamines can help ease the discomfort of a mild food allergy.

A Word From Verywell

These remedies can help you feel better. However, preventing the reaction is key to avoiding feeling unwell. Remember, just because an initial response is mild doesn't necessarily mean you won't experience more severe symptoms after the next exposure. Reading food labels and being mindful when eating out can help avoid contacting potential food allergens.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you flush out food allergies?

    The best way to eliminate an allergen is to stop eating the trigger food. You'll also want to stay hydrated by drinking enough fluids if you are experiencing diarrhea or vomiting.

  • Do food allergies ever go away?

    It depends. Allergies to eggs, milk, soy, or wheat may disappear. However, allergies to tree nuts, shellfish, peanuts, and fish tend to remain lifelong allergies.

  • How can you tell if you’re allergic to a certain food?

    If you experience hives, swelling, tingling of the mouth, or stomach discomfort soon after consuming a particular food, you may be allergic to it.

21 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Lindsey DeSoto, RD, LD
Lindsey Desoto is a registered dietitian with experience working with clients to improve their diet for health-related reasons. She enjoys staying up to date on the latest research and translating nutrition science into practical eating advice to help others live healthier lives.