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How to reduce the symptoms of Hay Fever naturally

Spring is here and for many of us it is a time to celebrate, but if you suffer with hay fever spring can be much less fun. There are lots of things you can do to help reduce hay fever symptoms without resorting to staying inside!

Hay fever is a hypersensitive response to pollen, your body produces an allergic response, resulting in a runny nose, sore eyes, sneezing, itching, headaches etc. These symptoms are due to the release of histamine, which is why antihistamines work.

Quercetin is a natural antihistamine, it reduces the amount of histamine you produce. Quercetin is found in apples, parsley, red onions, and capers. The red pigment in dark berries also helps reduce histamine production. You can also take quercetin as a supplement.

Mushrooms contain beta-glucans that support the immune system. All mushrooms are good but some are particularly noted for their effect on our immune systems including Chaga and Rheisi. You can buy medicinal mushrooms as supplements, or try a mushroom coffee.

Green tea and nettle tea help by reducing inflammation and lowering histamine levels. You can make your own nettle tea, or buy it from health food shops.

Some foods we eat contain histamine or trigger the release of histamine, Avoiding or reducing these will help with your symptoms. The key high histamine foods are alcohol, especially red wine, fermented foods, including kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha, cured meats, tinned fish and mature cheeses.

Dairy foods, cow’s milk, cheese and yoghurt, can be irritant to the mucous membranes lining the nose and throat. Cutting back or cutting out dairy in hay fever season can make big difference to your symptoms.

Vitamin D plays many roles in the body, one is to modulate the immune system. Ensuring you have good vitamin D levels will help with hay fever. For most people in the UK that means taking a vitamin D supplement through the winter. But, more is not necessarily a good thing. It is sensible to get your levels checked – there are home tests that can be done easily and relatively inexpensively.

You might be surprised to learn that most of your immune system is in your gut – so keeping your gut healthy is key to staying healthy. Ensure you eat plenty of fibre from fresh fruit and veg, whole grains and pulses (peas, beans and lentils). If you aren’t used to eating a lot of fibre, then increase it gradually. Fibre feeds the healthy gut bacteria. You can also take a probiotic to further improve your gut bacteria, for hay fever choose a supplement with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. Avoid inflammatory foods such as processed or fried foods, sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, white rice. Gluten, in wheat, can be irritating to the gut lining even for people who are not sensitive to it. Try cutting it out or reducing the amount of wheat you eat and see if that affects your symptoms.

Increase the anti inflammatory foods in your diet. These include fresh fruit and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, ginger and omega 3 fats (from oily fish, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds).

If you are still experiencing symptoms then it is time to get in touch with me, or consult your GP.

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