Beating hayfever naturally using – Diet, Lifestyle CHANGES & Supplements
Feeling bunged up? Itchy eyes? Scratchy throat? Sneezing? Watery eyes ?
These are all common symptoms associated with hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis-an allergic reaction to pollen. Hayfever symptoms can also cause sleeping problems, fatigue and poor concentration, significantly affecting a person’s daily life.
Hayfever is reported to affect 13 million people in the UK and whilst the usual treatment is antihistamine medication they can often cause drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, impaired thinking and headaches and for many often don’t work too well.
Hayfever is caused by the inhalation of pollens, followed by the immune system responding as if these pollens were a threat, such as a virus or pathogenic bacteria. A rapid response ensues resulting in hayfever symptoms. However, unlike viral or bacterial infections, these symptoms can last for months due to ongoing pollen exposure.
For best results in beating hayfever, you need to start preparing your body early, ideally 2-3 months before the pollen season begins however for this season it’s not too late, there are still actions you can take to reduce the severity of symptoms.
What is histamine?
Histamine is a molecule released by immune cells in circulation and in tissues (e.g. beneath the skin) as part of an immune response. Histamine release brings blood and immune cells to the affected area, resulting in redness, heat, swelling, and an increase in mucus production. Histamine plays a key role in inflammation, especially in allergic reactions.
Individuals with allergies tend to have a higher baseline histamine level, histamine-rich foods like aged cheese, cured meats, alcohol, shellfish, dried fruits, fermented foods, spinach etc can raise histamine levels further so avoid these foods/drinks for now.
Eat more of these dietary nutrients:
Quercetin is an antioxidant found in many fruit and vegetables. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural anti-histamine. Eat 5 portions of vegetables (including onions) daily and 2 portions of fruit including apples naturally rich in quercetin
- Nettle has the ability to block histamine activity, and other pro-inflammatory molecules involved in hay fever, try drinking 3 – 4 cups of nettle tea daily
- Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme derived from pineapples, mostly the stem/core. Papaya and Kiwi are also good food sources.
- Vitamin C supports histamine detoxification, aiding with clearing it from the body. Good food sources include oranges, kiwi, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, kale, peppers and lemon juice.
Essential fats omega-3 and -6, can also help to reduce inflammation and are involved in the production of anti-inflammatory immune molecules. These can be found in foods such as oily fish, freshly ground flaxseeds and walnuts.
Supplements can help support the immune system:
Probiotics: These friendly bacteria can change the immune system’s response to pollen. Certain strains such as Lactobacillus paracasei 33 and Bifidobacterium longum have been found to help with symptoms such as snezzing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy and watery eyes.
Suggested dose: High strength of 10 to 20 billion daily
Quercetin: A potent antihistamine
Suggested dose: 250-600mg daily
Bromelain: Often taken with quercetin as it enhances absorption.
Suggested dose: 400-500mg daily
Vitamin C: another of nature’s powerful antihistamines
Suggested dose: 2g daily
NOTE: For best results buy good quality supplements and use at suggested dose. Do contact me for recommendations. Please check with myself or your doctor for contraindications should you be taking prescription medication prior to using supplements.
Making Lifestyle changes can also help such as:
- Use an air purifier to help filter out some of those airborne allergens.
- Try a Neti pot such as SinuCleanse Neti Pot system to help flush out mucus and foreign irritants like pollen out of the nose
- Use a natural barrier balm like HayMax at the base of the nose area to help prevent pollens entering the body. www.haymax.biz
- Close your windows when the pollen count is high.
- Avoid drying washing outside on high pollen days.
- Monitor the pollen count by checking your local weather conditions. On wetter days, the pollen count tends to be lower.
- Consuming local honey every day has been shown to reduce hay fever symptoms. This can be purchased from local farm shops or health shops.
If you suffer from hay fever, making these dietary and lifestyle changes, and starting early before the pollen season, could help with the management of symptoms. Doing so will hopefully enable you to enjoy the warmth and daylight that the spring and summer months bring.
For further nutritional advice and support contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy Foley- dipNT, mBANT, rCNHC NUTRITIONIST
Emily, our acupuncturist has made two videos to help with hay fever using acupressure points –