Spring is in full swing which means those who suffer with hay fever are really suffering! I was inspired to write this as I see those close to me SEVERLY suffering!
What is hay fever?
Hay Fever, otherwise known as Seasonal Rhinitis, is present if sneezing attacks, nasal discharge or blockages occur for more than an hour on most days at particular times of the year. It is caused by allergens that are airborne entering your airways (or in some cases your eyes.) This causes your body to produce an immune response to produce antibodies. As this is an overreaction to an un-harmful substance is defined as a hypertensive reaction. The antibodies then trigger the corresponding antigens to trigger mediators (hormones and chemicals) such as histamine, which causes the symptoms that are present.
What are the symptoms?
Nasal irritation, sneezing and a runny nose are the most common. Other symptoms include itchy eyes, and irritation or itchy soft palate (at the roof of your mouth); all the way to itchy ears. Some hay fever sufferers also have seasonal asthma attacks is the symptoms are severe enough.
What are the typical treatments?
- Avoiding known allergens: such as pollen, dust, pet hair and mould; this will reduce the symptoms (if this is possible)
- Anti-histamine medication: this reduces the histamine produced = less symptoms, and this the most common form of treatment
- Decongestants: used to reduce the nasal congestion associated with hay fever, but only deals with this symptom and results wear off fast.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs: reduce the mast cell production in the inflammatory response to the allergen.
- Corticosteroids: the most effective, but the most harsh on the body & can only be used in small doses for a short period of time
What can I do naturally with my diet to reduce the symptoms?
1. Remove known allergens & dietary contributors to mucus production and inflammation (i.e. dairy)
- Dairy promotes mucus production which is what you want to limit whilst suffering with hay fever, it also increases inflammation in the gut for a lot of people so looking at alternatives to dairy is a good way to reduce symptoms ( Dairy Alternatives )
- Bananas also promote mucus production so limiting these is also ideal
- Foods that contain omega 6 (peanut, soy, vegetable oils including sunflower) are highly inflammatory and should be reduced
- Refined carbohydrates and sugars will lead to an increase in inflammation
- For some people gluten and wheat, along with other food allergens will also increase inflammation
- Glutamine: found in , can repair the mucosal lining from the damage of inflammation
- Digestive enzymes: in supplement form or found in pineapple, papaya, raw vegetables (i.e. carrot, spinach) and spouts
- Probiotics: in supplements to inoculated the gut with good bacteria to reduce inflammation and severity of hay fever symptoms allowing for absorption of anti-inflammatory & anti-histamine nutrients
3. Increase: Anti-histamine foods & anti-inflammatory foods
- Pineapple: contains bromelain which is a natural anti-histamine & anti-inflammatory which also assists in the uptake of other anti-histamine compounds
- Garlic & onion: contain quercetin which reduce the amount of histamine produces = lessen symptoms
- Berries & Citrus fruits: Contain Pycnogenol (a natural anti-histamine); vitamin C (known immune system booster) and flavanoids (known antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties)
- Green tea: Known natural anti-histamine and immune system booster
- Others: ginger, fish, tumeric and leafy greens
Please consult your healthcare professional before adjusting any foods, supplements or medications.