Springtime maybe just around the corner ….
Ah, the bliss… the change in seasons may be eagerly awaited … that is, unless you suffer from HAYFEVER!
For many the thought of springtime may just leave some running for cover and all that they can think about is the looming onset of a heavy head, the red eyes, the sniffing, the sneezing and the dripping!
So look out folks, HAYFEVER season is approaching fast!
Preparation is the key to reduce those feared symptoms and get your life back on track! Starting a strategy about 6 weeks before hand is ideal but the essential message is – sooner rather than later – to avoid that last minute reaction to reach for the anti-histamines and non-steriodals.
Seasonal Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is typically a reaction to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds triggering an immune response of excess Ig E immunoglobulins with this common chronic respiratory response affecting more than 3 million Australian every year.
This immune response brings grief to sufferers by stimulating release of histamine, causing inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages, along with excessive mucus production and other symptoms such as sneezing, itching nose and throat, watery eyes and a clear, runny nose.
However, there are a number of strategies worthy of adapting that are extremely beneficial for alleviating these debilitating hay fever symptoms. Here’s my top 5:
1.Increase your Vitamin C sources
Foods such as Kiwi fruit, strawberries, citrus fruits, papaya, guava, mango, red capsicum and broccoli are all great sources of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids to give you’re the edge is fighting the immune response.
You may also need to consider supplementation in these high times of need. Vitamin C is such a powerful anti-histamine in its own right and will assist in reducing the those nasty symptoms. Take 2 g during the hay fever season 3 times a day (adjusting for children’s dose).
2. Look at what your feeding your immune system
A Food as Medicine approach is super supportive for the immune system. Increasing functional foods in the diet such as these can assist and build the body’s defences:
Pineapple which is rich in the anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain which systemically reduces mucosal inflammation and nasal congestion.
Turmeric is packed full of antioxidants and it’s anti-allergy properties of turmeric act to inhibit the release of histamine, the body’s response to irritants. Try the fresh version by peeling and grating about 2 teaspoons and adding to your favourite rice dishes or stir-fries. Gloving up will help avoid any staining to the hands.
Onions contain powerful antioxidant anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties due to their high content of the bioflavonoid, quercetin. Add some chopped red onions to your favourite salad. Or incorporate other sources being found in apples, kale, red grapes, berries, cherries and parsley, as much as possible to your daily diet .
Nettle or Licorice Teas are known for their ability to relieve inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and ease sneezing, itching and nasal congestion, and make a soothing option to the daily coffee which can have an increased tendency to dehydrate and accelerate an immune response.
Vibrantly coloured Vitamin A rich foods such as carrots, pumpkin, apricots, mango and papaya as Vitamin A plays an important role in promoting healthy mucous membranes, improving immune function, reducing inflammation and decreasing the risk of secondary respiratory infections. (Don’t forget our lovely green leafy vegetables here too as they also are a great source but the green chlorophyll content disguises their colour).
Horseradish and Garlic are two pungent root vegetables have an awesome decongestive action on the nasal passages and particularly when grated fresh, can add a lovely yummy kick to roast meats and vegetables. Garlic in particular is a natural anti-histamine, assisting clearance of nasal congestion, with its potent antibiotic properties restricts the risk of secondary infection.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria which help restore and balance the body’s response to the invading pollens through our gut-immune link. Enjoy some fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kim-chi and miso to boost that immune system muscle.
Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can be so easily add into the diet to help reduce nasal swelling and fight off some of the other nasty symptoms of hay fever. Simply add it to a your daily fresh juice smoothie. For added punch to your smoothie, add some leafy greens such as parsley, mint, kale or spinach for added boost. Look at including it where ever you can, in your stir-fries or even making a nice tea. A combination of carrot, celery, beetroot, apple and ginger can be super tasty and immune-boosting at the same time.
Drink at least 2 litres of clear fluid a day to assist mucus to drain.
3.Giving some foods a holiday!
Cutting back or temporarily excluding some foods might prove helpful in your fight to avoid the red eyes, red nose and heavy head. Foods such as dairy, bananas, wheat, seem to be the major offender , but you might like to also consider eggs, citrus, corn, peanuts, wine, nuts and shellfish. Always consider a better alternative especially during this time of the season.
Cutting back on Alcohol consumption will help to avoid the swelling effect it has on the mucous membranes lining the airways.
such as eyebright, albizzia, horseradish, goldenrod and goldenseal are excellent for decreasing inflammation and symptomatic relief.
such as Evening primrose oil taken throughout the year can decrease your allergic response and build tolerance. It acts to calm the elevated histamine immune response which causes the itching and redness of the mucous membranes that line the throat and nose.
For qualified professional individualized advice, book an appointment today
Here’s to a Happy, no-so-sneezey Spring!
– Pam Murphy | Naturopath & Remedial Massage Therapist