“Hayfever is a specific type of allergic reaction to pollen”
Allergies are on the rise and many of us suffer with the horrible symptoms of hayfever. Itchy irritated eyes, running nose and sneezing can really cause misery to the sufferer, but there are things you can do to ease these symptoms.
An allergy is a disorder of the immune system. The body decides that normally harmless substances such as pollen, animal hair, certain foods, mould spores and dust mites are dangerous. Mast cells and basophils (white blood cells) are activated by antigens resulting in an inflammatory response. Common allergic reactions include eczema, hayfever, hives, asthma, food allergies and reactions to bee and wasp venom.
“An allergy is a disorder of the immune system”
This inflammatory response can lead to skin rashes, excess mucous, streaming and itching eyes and nose and even diarrhoea and vomiting as the body tries to flush the allergen out.
Hayfever is a specific type of allergic reaction to pollen. Different people can be allergic to different types of pollen. Common culprits include; rye, grass, rape, ragweed, birch and juniper.
Supplements which may help
Below are a few of the supplements that may be beneficial if you suffer with hayfever and want to reduce your symptoms:
Vitamin C – immediately calms down an allergic reaction, promotes a healthy immune system and is anti-inflammatory. 1 gram taken four times a day can be very beneficial if suffering form an allergic reaction to pollen.
Quercetin – promotes a healthy inflammatory response and helps to regulate histamine production. If your symptoms are severe you can take around 500mg 3 times a day, reducing to 500mg as you improve.
Bromelain – is an enzyme found in pineapple which helps to break down protein. It has been shown to reduce swelling and inflammation and can help if there is swelling of the eyes and nose. You can take up to 300mg daily.
Glutamine – can help to restore healthy mucus membranes, support immunity and improve digestive health. Try taking 500mg daily on an empty stomach. This can also help to improve a ‘leaky gut’, a condition which is often associated with allergies.
Foods in increase
Beta-Carotene rich foods – help to reduce inflammation and promote health of the mucus membranes throughout the respiratory system. Including carrots, apricots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, melon, mango, peppers, broccoli, watercress, spinach, kale and parsley in your diet can help to ease symptoms.
Garlic – helps to reduce catarrh and is antimicrobial, killing bacteria which may reside in mucous. Crushing the cloves with either a garlic crusher or the edge of a knife releases the important oils and it is best eaten raw.
Vitamin C – acts as a natural anti-histamine so include berries, citrus fruit and kiwi.
Local honey – honey produced by bees near where you live contains minute quantities of the pollen which may be triggering your hayfever. Eating the honey little and often may help to de-sensitise the body.
Foods to decrease
Dairy milk – like all dairy products is mucous forming so best avoided; alternatives include rice, oat and nut milks.
Wheat – allergies and intolerances to this grain are common. The gluten in wheat can be mistaken for an allergen by a hyper-sensitive immune system. The symptoms of wheat allergy are similar to those of hayfever. People with hayfever often react to the gluten in wheat. Try replacing it with oats, quinoa, millet or buckwheat (actually from the rhubarb family).
Refined and processed foods, colourings and additives – place an added strain on the liver which has to filter the extra toxins from the body.
Alcohol, black tea and coffee – deplete the absorption of minerals and also put added strain on the liver. If you are drinking alcohol make sure you are including water. Alternatives to tea and coffee include green tea, rooibos (red bush) and herbal teas such as nettle, chamomile or dandelion coffee.
Or why not try an immune-boosting smoothie?
Recipe: Immune-boosting smoothie
1 handful of frozen berries
1 handful of kale
2 cups rice/oat milk (or less for a thicker smoothie)
1 tsp almond nut butter