Hayfever – A fresh approach to get relief in 2021
Let’s take a fresh look at how you can alleviate your hay fever symptoms.
The number of hay fever sufferers is at an all time high in the UK. 25% of the population suffer with mild to moderate symptoms during the Summer season.
And if you’re one of them you may have noticed that this Summer you are suffering more. Symptoms are worse for many people possibly due to a reduced immune tolerance as a result of prolonged lockdowns.
Here are some easy was to support yourself through the season.
Inflammation in over-drive
Hay fever triggers an inflammatory response causing the mucosal membranes lining the respiratory tract to swell. This effects the nose, throat, eyes and ears.
Ginger and turmeric and two well known natural remedies with excellent anti-inflammatory properties. They help to calm inflammation when it goes into over-drive by inhibiting the release of inflammatory the compounds in the airways.
Grate ginger into a glass of lemon water or into a smoothie or stir-fry. It adds a real zing to your food.
Make a cooling turmeric tea with a plant milk, turmeric and a pinch of black pepper and a tsp of coconut oil (as both aid absorption of the active ingredient curcumin). Heat together then allow to cool. If you love the taste of turmeric, liberally add turmeric to your cooking stirring in to olive oil (for absorption)
Did you know what you eat can be anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory?
You can support your body to calm its inflammatory response by avoiding (or significantly reducing) sugar, simple carbohydrates, processed foods, seed oils and stimulants (tea, coffee, alcohol).
In their place aim to eat a natural wholefood diet with complex carbohydrates (like brown rice), nuts, seeds, pulses and vegetables ( see below); together with 3 portions of oily fish every week (salmon, sardines, mackerel).
The fats in oily fish convert to anti-inflammatory messengers sending out a strong signal to those inflamed airways to calm down!
Take the hiss out of histamine
The key factor with hay fever is an overreaction by mast cells which release histamine. It is histamine that causes the symptoms so commonly associated with hay fever: itchy watery eyes, blocked and runny nose, excess mucus and sneezing.
Histamine is an immune response to specific pollens (that varies from individual to individual) which the body sees as a threat.
Aim to eat plenty of vegetables and not just salad. Think of ten portions a day if you can and eat thirty different plant foods a week! This variety of colours and types of vegetables together with the overall intake of plant foods will provide your body with natural anti-histamine nutrients.
Vitamin C (especially rich in peppers, kiwi fruit, berries and dark green leafy vegetables) helps to break down and excrete histamine circulating in the body. Vitamin C also protects respiratory cells from the excess inflammatory damage that is created.
Magnesium has a similar mechanism to vitamin C. And research has shown that a deficiency may actually increase histamine production. Magnesium rich foods to include in your diet are brown rice, other wholegrains, nuts, seeds and dark green leafy vegetables.
Avoid histamine rich foods
Some foods can increase histamine release so these are best avoided when you are suffering: cheese, seafood, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, sausages, soy sauce and fermented foods
Reduce Mucus Forming Foods
Excess mucus during a hay fever outbreak is annoying and unpleasant. Some foods can increase mucus production in susceptible individuals.
Review your diet and look for ways to reduce your intake of dairy, grains (especially white grains), starchy foods like potatoes, parsnips and bananas and sugars. You may not need to completely eliminate these foods but if you have a high intake of these foods day to day look for ways to reduce your intake by choosing alternatives.
I often recommend quinoa in place of grains and potatoes, oat cakes may be better than bread, nut milks in place of dairy, coconut yogurt in place of standard yoghurt and berries in place of bananas.
And finally, let’s not forget this crucial vitamin. So many people are deficient yet it has an important role to play in managing hay fever. It helps to stop the immune system going into over-drive.
Even if you are spending time in the sun (our main source), make sure to keep your levels up by supplementing 1000iu D3 all year round. It’s no longer just for Winter.
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