Want to avoid symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, itching, congestion and coughing this season? Hayfever affects the mucous membranes of the sinuses, nose, throat and eyes and is a result of inflammatory reactions to pollen, grass etc. that stimulate the immune system. If we can try to stop the cause of these reactions then we have a good chance of reducing these symptoms, and since allergies are often due to weakened immune and digestive systems, let’s start here, and earlier the better!…
Things to include to support the digestive and immune systems:
- Carotenoids – they are powerful antioxidants reducing inflammation in airways and improving the immune system. Good sources are carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach and apricots.
- Onion and garlic – anti-inflammatory and a good source of quercetin, they are also great immune boosters
- Turmeric – is very anti-inflammatory therefore helping to reduce the symptoms of hayfever
- Honey – bee pollen can desensitise the body to other pollens so a great way to prime the body against hayfever
- Bee propolis is also known to reduce hayfever symptoms by regulating immune responses and also because it contains quercetin (see below). So be sure to buy honey that has not been altered and still contains the pollen and propolis!
Things to avoid which suppress the immune system
- Simple sugars and processed foods – they suppress the immune system by reducing the ability of white blood cells to overpower and destroy bacteria
- Alcohol and caffeine
- Dairy and gluten – due to their inflammatory effects on the digestive system and because they are hyper-allergenic foods for the immune system
- Quercetin – a bioflavonoid which is a natural antihistamine and strongly anti-allergenic. It reduces hayfever symptoms by inhibiting mast cell action thus reducing histamine release. It also exerts potent antioxidant activity and vitamin C‐sparing
- Bromelain and vitamin C – they can enhance the action of bioflavonoids, and are also natural anti histamines themselves.
- Fish oils – again due to their anti-inflammatory properties, fish oils are a great reliever of hayfever symptoms.
- Probiotics – these are recommended to ensure the right balance of gut flora, which has a big effect on our immune systems.