Allergies are an inflammatory response to an allergen, and certain foods like sugar, dairy, and wheat can produce additional inflammatory responses that compound a reaction, Wood says. For asthmatics, preservatives and nitrates can be particularly irritating, she says.
In addition to certain foods weakening your allergy defenses, when you’re tired and have had perhaps one too many mugs of eggnog or hot cider, your immune system can be compromised and become more prone to a reaction.
“The combination of being run-down and eating a lot of food, [people are] more susceptible to getting that sinus infection,” Wood says.
While that doesn’t mean, you should forgo the entire holiday spread, it does mean that if you’re suffering from a runny nose or itchy eyes, skipping the sugar-laced gingerbread house or second helping of iced cookies may be a good idea. You’ll save on tissue and will enjoy the holidays a bit more through clear eyes and without a ruby red nose.