Wine (and other fermented foods, like beer, pickles, yogurt, and sauerkraut) may naturally contain a substance known as histamine. Since histamine is also a chemical released by the body’s allergy cells during an allergic reaction, these foods can trigger allergy-like responses when consumed during your allergy season. Jeffrey G. Demain, MD, who serves on the board of directors at the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, says, “Sulfites and metabisulfites are a natural product of fermentation and can be added as preservatives—this is most commonly a problem associated with red wine and some beers.” Other products that can also trigger spring allergy symptoms include grains, yeasts, and contaminants. “Rarely, anaphylaxis has been reported,” he adds. If you find that sulfites trigger your allergies, then try a more distilled beverage. Otherwise, just say no to adult beverages till the season passes.
Check out our survival guide for allergy season.