It’s that time of year again. Hay Fever sufferers know too well how the symptoms can leave them at their wits end. Swollen, red itchy eyes, sneezing, runny and blocked noses are incredibly uncomfortable. With the pollen count so high at the moment, there are many people reaching for the antihistamines.
Hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis) is an allergic inflammatory condition that can be a symptom of an overactive immune system and high inflammatory load in the body. It can be eased by increasing anti-inflammatory foods, reducing pro-inflammatory ones and re-balancing the immune system thereby reducing the allergic threshold.
Did you know that certain foods have a pro-inflammatory effect? Foods such as refined sugar, refined carbs, vegetable and sunflower oils and trans-fats found in processed foods should be avoided.
The good news is that there are foods which can have an anti-inflammatory effect. Foods that are high in anti-oxidants and phytonutrients from fruit and vegetables should be eaten in abundance.
Try these foods to ease hay fever suffering:
Apples are high in the flavonol quercetin which has anti-allergic properties
Onions, garlic, watercress and broccoli, berries and grapes also contain quercetin.
Oily fish such as mackerel and salmon. Oily fish is high in Omega 3 fatty acids which has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin D rich foods such as salmon, sardines, eggs. Best source is the sun! Vegans and vegetarians may need to supplement especially in the winter months, speak to your doctor for a vitamin D blood test. Vitamin D helps to regulate immune response to allergens and it is also an antioxidant.
Vitamin C has natural anti-histamine properties and also acts as an antioxidant. Excellent sources include fresh berries, broccoli, peppers and kiwi
Although these things can be helpful in the long run, they do not provide instant relief like anti-histamines, working with your Nutritional Therapist to remove allergens and regulate the immune response would be beneficial for longer term management of symptoms.