For some, longer days mean blue skies, beautiful blossoming plants and after work aperols. But for others it means streaming noses, itchy eyes and that irritating scratch at the back of your throat that you just can’t quite shift.
The weather can also be unpredictable, changing often despite the pollen count. There are also times when you suddenly develop symptoms where before you didn't, and many people are complaining this year that their symptoms are worse than ever.
The majority of people who suffer from these symptoms tend to run to the chemist for quick relief and it’s no surprise that this desperation means we don't even consider the possibility that there are other options without annoying side effects like drowsiness. Additionally, these medicines and quick fixes don't actually address the problem, rather they cover it up. Natural solutions, by contrast, can work on the immune system, detox pathways and therefore prevent excessive inflammation and histamine production.
Can what I eat affect my hayfever?
We know that living a healthy lifestyle is what it says on the tin, a lifestyle and that there aren't quick, overnight fixes when it comes to managing our health, but nutrition should be considered at all times, especially if you are dealing with histamine issues that can manifest as hayfever.
Some nutrients have been shown to support the breakdown of histamine (the substance that causes the symptoms) in the body and therefore help relieve symptoms. It has been found that limiting foods and drinks containing histamine may help relieve some symptoms. A person's diet can affect their immune system, their gut, and their inflammation levels, all of which can play a role in hay fever symptoms.
Which foods contain histamine?
A surprising number of foods actually contain histamine, which could worsen your symptoms if consumed in large quantities. If you're able to reduce these, it's worth experimenting to see if they help, recognizing that everyone's results may vary of course:
- Alcohol - Especially fermented drinks such as wine, champagne, cider, and bee.
- Coffee and tea
- Dried fruit
- Fermented foods include cheeses, vinegars, pickles, kimchi, preserves, miso, soy sauce, and tamari.
- Aged and smoked meats – salami, smoked salmon, anchovies etc.
- Leftovers – of anything (the older the food, the more histamine)
- Citrus fruits
- Dark chocolate and cacao
- Ripe fruits such as banana and avocado
- Strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, aubergine and spinach
What are Natural Anti-histamine foods?
Many foods, especially those rich in quercetin (an antioxidant believed to inhibit the release of histamine) and Vitamin C (an anti-inflammatory immune system booster). This suggests that this foods possess natural antihistamine properties which can help in the process of reducing symptoms.
Some of our healf certified nutrients to increase include:
- Vitamin C - A natural antihistamine & immune supporting antioxidant. Found in fruit & veggies – aim for 7 each/day
- All colourful fruits and vegetables (apart from those listed above of course) especially red onions and apples with skin.
- Zinc rich foods – vital for regulating histamine activity. Think sunflower seeds, poultry, fresh oily fish
- Quercetin - Found in red onions, apples, green tea & berries, this is an anti-oxidant that can help reduce inflammation & histamine release
- Magnesium rich foods – fresh nuts and seeds, broccoli, watercress, cabbage, chickpeas.
- Anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, olive oil.
healf loves - Genexa Allergy Care
Does my gut health have an impact on my hayfever?
As a healf reader, you're probably familiar with the importance of our gut health. It is critical to support the gut and immunity since they are intertwined and work together for our health.
As well as this, avoiding excess build up of histamine within the body is essential in ensuring that we can manage our hayfever symptoms. Daily bowel movements and healthy elimination is essential for ensuring we are naturally detoxing. Fibre from a combination of plant-based foods such as beans, wholegrains, veggies, seeds as well as anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric, ginger and garlic are a great place to start. Similarly, keeping gut bacteria healthy with a high quality pre/probiotic.
healf loves - Nue Co Pre and Probiotic
healf loves - Bullet Proof - Innerfuel Prebiotic Blend
Healf Approved Quick Tips:
In hayfever season, there is a high likelihood that you will encounter irritating pollen outside of home, whether it's enjoying the sunshine with friends and family, or simply commuting to the office. Now we know we said there is no such thing as a quick fix, but here are some of our SOS moment saviours:
- If you want to minimise the amount of pollen entering your system through body orifices, organic tallow balms can be dabbed around your nostrils, eyes and mouth where it will trap pollen particles before they enter your airways. This Tallow Balm also soothes skin inflammation too!
- healf loves - Fierce Nature Tallow Balm
- Herbs such as liquorice root, chamomile and nettle make wonderful, symptom reducing teas - you can pop them in a flask to take to your park picnic & add some raw local honey for extra boost.
DISCLAIMER - Supplements are used for a variety of reasons, so a one-size-fits-all approach isn't appropriate. Women in pregnancy or breastfeeding, as well as those on medication, should always seek a physician's advice before taking supplements.