Spring is finally here, which means warmer days and lighter nights but for many, it also means the start of hayfever season, too. Allergy UK estimates that nearly 18 million people have hayfever in the UK. That’s about 30% of the population!. If you have experienced it, you’ll know that, while it is considered a minor medical issue, in reality, symptoms can range from uncomfortable to debilitating.
Over the counter anti-histamines are most peoples’ go-to relief for hayfever but have side effects in themselves, including drowsiness, impaired thinking, dry mouth, dizziness and constipation. I think most people would agree if they could take fewer anti-histamines they would. Nutrition can help manage symptoms, by both reducing the amount histamines and mucous forming foods, as well as including anti-inflammatory and natural anti-histamine foods.
Around 95% of hayfever sufferers are allergic to grass pollen and a quarter to tree pollen. Mould spores and weed pollen can also trigger symptoms. Many people think that their symptoms are unrelated to foods, but sufferers will often suffer ‘itchy’ mouth from certain foods, indicating ‘cross-reactivity’. Even without immediate symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract, people can have food sensitivities which are aggravating their symptoms. Pollen allergic people can become sensitive to similar proteins found in grains, grasses and possibly milk, fruit, and vegetables. For example, if you are grass pollen allergic, you may be sensitive to tomatoes, dairy, wheat, melon and oranges. Tree pollen allergies can be related to tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazils), nightshade vegetables plus peaches, nectarines, apples and apricots.
Many of the hayfever symptoms are due to the body reacting by producing too much histamine. Histamine causes itchy eyes and nose, and mucous formation. As well as being made in the body, histamine is also in the foods we eat. Reducing consumption of high histamine foods such as alcohol (especially wine), coffee, chocolate and cheese is a good place to start. Additionally, milk products can be mucous forming too, so eliminating and replacing them with non-dairy alternatives such as rice or coconut milk can help reduce catarrh and the worst of the streaming.
Once you have taken troublesome foods out of your diet there are a number of key nutrients to add to your diet that may alleviate hay fever symptoms. Taking your daily VITL supplement strip can really help to boost your consumption of these key nutrients. The Omega 3 in VITL’s nutrition pack is particularly important as it regulates your immune response providing an anti-inflammatory effect. Studies also show that vitamin E and Choline may also be helpful hay fever nutrients. Additionally, vitamin C is a natural antihistamine found highest in green leafy vegetables and berries, whilst quercetin, a plant flavonoid found in abundance in yellow peppers and capers, has also been shown to reduce allergy reactivity. The anti-inflammatory flavonoids from green tea, spirulina, and turmeric, key ingredients in VITL Greens Superfood power, can aid in alleviating hay fever symptoms, too.
Beautiful flowers provided by our friends at Bloom & Wild