With the start of the pollen season and summer fast approaching, many people are filled with dread. It can certainly be a miserable time for millions of hay fever sufferers. Indeed, known as the ‘modern epidemic’, allergies, and in particular, hay fever, appear to be on the rise.
What about immune defence?
Any allergic reaction involves a response from the body’s immune system. An allergy triggers the release of histamine, which, in, turn causes the tell-tale itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, wheezing and more!
Therefore, supporting the immune system needs to be the first line of defence. Vitamin A is key in helping to reduce inflammation in the mucous membranes which get irritated and cause these symptoms. Plus it’s also a key immune-boosting vitamin. Eating plenty of eggs, liver and fish, all high in vitamin A, is a good plan. However, the body converts beta carotene into vitamin A as it needs it; colourful fruits and vegetables, particularly carrots, peppers, mangoes, sweet potatoes and green leafy vegetables should certainly feature high on the menu to really help boost the immune system.
Always remember, that if you’re time-poor, then have a selection of fruits and vegetables in the freezer; they’re still packed with nutrients. With the summer months approaching, we tend to naturally eat more fruits, vegetables and salads so you’ll generally be eating more vitamin C, another key immune-booster. Additionally, berry fruits, in particular, are all high in vitamin C. I feel a summer pudding coming on!
Spice up your life!
The spice, turmeric, is currently hot, in more ways than one! There’s been extensive research published on the many health benefits of turmeric (also known as curcumin). However, one of its key uses is reducing any inflammation in the body.
Turmeric appears to dampen down a specific enzyme in the body which is triggered by pollen, therefore, it can certainly help manage hay fever symptoms. It’s easy to include turmeric in lots of dishes, not just spicy curries. As an idea, spicy scrambled egg with spinach makes a wonderful breakfast!
Additionally, turmeric is widely available in supplement form if it’s just a little bit too hot for your palate!
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid or plant compound that helps to support immunity. More specifically it’s been found to help manage the body’s release of histamine, therefore it can help prevent some of the unpleasant symptoms of allergies.
Foods such as onions, citrus fruits, apples and green tea all contain quercetin. Interestingly, bromelain, which is a protein-digesting enzyme found in pineapples, helps its absorption, so eating a fruit salad containing both apples and pineapple is certainly going to help.
Make a cuppa!
There’s a wealth of readily available herbal teas in the supermarkets.
There are two herbs of particular note which can help alleviate symptoms of hay fever. Camomile makes a wonderfully calming tea which is a natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine and elderflower which helps chesty conditions may also help to ease hay fever.
Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon and tuna are all good sources of the omega-3 fats which help to manage inflammation in the body. It naturally follows that these healthy omega-3 fats can help to dampen down some of the unpleasant hay fever symptoms.
Try to eat oily fish three times a week if possible.
Hopefully my tips will help. If you have other health issues you want to discuss, then why not book a #personalisednutritionconsultation with me.