What You Should be Drinking at Happy Hour if You Have Pollen Allergies

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Photo of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor30 April 2018

Spring is the season of optimism and re-birth, but it’s also, unfortunately, the season of endless sneezing. If you suffer from pollen allergies it’s worth noting that your alcoholic beverage of choice could be exacerbating your symptoms, too.

Before you head to the nearest beer garden to soak up the first warmth of spring, heed this warning from Asthma UK: the naturally occurring histamines in certain boozy beverages can worsen allergic reactions.

Histamines are chemical compounds created by the body in response to an allergen. Their goal is to remove whatever it is that triggered your immune system, which is why people with pollen allergies get watery eyes and a stuffy nose this time of year. That’s their body’s attempt to clear its system.

Gin is less likely to trigger allergy symptoms | © Eddie Garcia / Unsplash

Interestingly, some foods and drinks also contain histamines, and when consumed they induce allergy symptoms in sufferers. Asthmatics occasionally find that certain drinks cause an attack, and those with pollen allergies might experience respiratory issues including wheezing, a stuffy or runny nose, and teary eyes.

Red wine is the number one culprit with the highest histamine content, but beer, alcoholic cider and white wine can be triggering as well. Your best bet is to pick clear or light colored liquors like gin, vodka and tequila, which tend to contain less of the compound. They also happen to be on the lighter end of the caloric scale, too, which is ideal if you’re determined to get in shape before summer arrives.

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