While many of us look forward to the warmer spring weather hay fever sufferers are dreading it. Distressing symptoms such as explosive sneezing, intensely itchy and watery eyes and nose, congestion, headaches and fatigue are caused by excessive allergic reactions to tree or grass pollen, molds, spores and fumes. Although many people rely on antihistamines and other over the counter remedies to ease the symptoms many people prefer natural health remedies. There is evidence that your diet may hold they key in considerably easing the symptoms.
Some nutritional doctors have pointed out that there was an association between the increase in sugar consumption in the more affluent classes from the middle of the 19th Century and an increase in hay fever. Although it may just be coincidence sugar and grass pollen, the commonest trigger of hay fever, are both in the same botanical family. Interestingly, wheat a common food allergy is also in the same family.
The Food Allergy Connection
There is no doubt that people with hay fever who are allergic or intolerant to some foods will benefit from excluding them from their diets. This has often worked for people who don’t respond to other treatments. By reducing the some of the load on your immune system your tolerance to pollen and other hay fever triggers may be increased.
While this may not produce results in the short term the long term effects of excluding reactive foods together with following a healthy diet free of refined carbohydrates and food additives and the correction of any nutritional deficiencies often brings about considerable reduction in symptoms the following year.
Natural Yogurt & the Immune System
Although many naturopaths recommend excluding cow’s milk products to lessen mucus and congestion eating live yogurt for 3 months prior to the pollen season has lessened hayfever for some. A lot of research has shown that the good bacteria in your bowel play an important part in how your immune system functions. Hay fever occurs when the immune system reacts excessively to certain substances releasing histamine which causes the majority of the symptoms.
Vitamin C and Bioflavanoids – Nature’s Antihistamines
Some recent studies have shown that Vitamin C can act as a natural antihistamine remedy. Adults who took 2 grams of Vitamin C a day reduced their blood histamine levels by 40% . Citrus fruits, peppers, new potatoes, green leafy vegetables, and tomatoes are high in vitamin C so it makes sense to eat more of these foods.
In fact Greek children who ate a lot of oranges, grapes, apples and tomatoes were less likely to get hay fever. The high levels of bioflavanoids in these foods help prevent the release of histamine from cells.
Quercetin, a natural plant chemical is another natural anti-histamine as well as an antioxidant and inti-inflammatory. Eat more citrus fruit (only if not allergic to them), apples, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and onions to get more quercetin.
Carotenoids and Vitamin A
Carotenoids, the substances in plants that give them the wonderful red, orange and yellow colors, can be converted in your body to Vitamin A an essential nutrient for the health of the respiratory system. They are also found in spinach, kale, and collard greens. A group of people with the highest intake of carotenoids had the lowest rates of hay fever. Eat plenty of carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, apricots, mangoes and green leafy veg.
Omega-3 a Natural Remedy for Inflammation
Omega-3 fatty acids can benefit hay fever sufferers as they have an anti-inflammatory effect. Good sources of these essential fats are oily fish (make sure its low in mercury), walnuts and flax seeds.
Making an early start on including all these healthy foods in your diet could provide you with a natural health remedy for hay fever this season.