Whilst most of us welcome the Spring season, as many as 40% will be dreading the all too familiar red, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, fatigue – and the many other symptoms that hay fever (allergic rhinitis) brings at this time of year.
The reason why some people are more prone than others is all down to individual immune response. When certain allergens such as pollens enter the body, vulnerable immune systems see them as invaders and release the chemical histamine to destroy them. It’s the production and circulation of histamine in the system that causes adverse side-effects that sufferers know all too well. However, there is much that can be done to alleviate, if not control histamine production. Whilst medications can bring equally as many unwanted side effects (e.g. drowsiness, dry mouth, headaches etc) there are plenty of natural anti-histamines in our foods.
The good guys:
Vitamin C: oranges, lemons, mandarins, capsicums, broccoli, cauliflower
Quercetin (a phytochemical): apples, apricots, red onions, red grapes, berries,
Spirulina: this algae has proven anti-histamine effects
Probiotic: more evidence is emerging that probiotics (healthy bacteria) can help combat the effects of grass and tree pollen in particular
The bad guys!
Whilst foods can help alleviate symptoms, it’s worth knowing that some foods can make things worse. For instance, carrot family vegetables contain specific molecules called psoralens which can exacerbate hay fever symptoms in some people. Notice if your symptoms worsen after you eat carrots, celery, turnips, parsley etc. Unidentified food intolerances will also worsen hay fever symptoms.
Did you know?
Probiotics can help with weight loss. Increasing the healthy bacteria in your intestines encourages absorption of nutrients, so you don’t feel as hungry. Healthy bacteria also fight harmful yeasts in the digestive tract and support thyroid function – two common reasons for weight gain. If you are intolerant to dairy, make sure you choose dairy-free probiotics such as Ethical Nutrients dairy free Inner Health Plus.
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