Spring is officially here - yesterday was the spring equinox (historically know as the Vernal Equinox) and it marks the first day of spring.
The weather in the UK has been very mild in March compared to recent years - a welcome relief after our very wet and cold winter! One of the consequences of this weather is an early spring and plantlife is currently blossoming - particularly so with there being plenty of water in the ground.
The onset of spring brings about allergies
Now that our trees and grasses are starting to shed their miserable winter shells, trees are starting to burst into blossom and the grasses are now becoming luscious - this is the perfect
recipe for allergic misery for millions of people.
For most people their first instinct is to rush to the anti-histamines to relieve the discomfort of itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing. Pharmaceutical companies make millions at this time of year but there are natural alternatives available to everyone.
What are allergies?
With the right foods and supplements you can reduce your body’s tendency to form histamines, molecules that cause allergic swelling, irritation and mucus.
Nutrition and natural food supplements can help
nutrition and natural supplements can actually dampen down your body’s allergic reactions, making hay fever symptoms significantly less severe.
the most basic level, you simply need to get your diet right. Allergic reactions are all inflammatory reactions to irritations in your body. If your diet feeds your body’s inflammatory state, the worse your allergy symptoms will be. So in a nutshell:
- Eating anti-inflammatory foods will help calm symptoms down.
- Eating the wrong foods encourages inflammation which will make your symptoms worse.
The wrong things to consume
Unfortunately for most of us it's likely that avoiding one or more items on this list is going require a large amount of willpower - they are 'staples' of our every day lives.
- White bread
- Junk food
All of the above are likely to add to your allergy woes as they encourage inflammation.
The correct things to consume
A diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds with several servings of oily fish a week will help you minimise the effects of natural inflammation. The oily fish is particularly important as Omega-3 essential fatty acids act as a natural anti-inflammatory.
It is often recommended to hay fever sufferers to try a wheat and dairy-free diet for a few months to see if their symptoms improve. There is an important common denominator linking pollen, wheat and milk - they all originally come from grass. It is thought that some hay fever sufferers become sensitive to
proteins that are common to grains, grasses and possibly milk.
If you suffer from hay fever or other allergies and have irregular or irritated bowel movements, consider taking a pro-biotic supplement. Researchers in Finland have linked high levels of good gut bacteria to a reduced risk of allergies.
These bacteria also strengthen and balance your overall immunity, which is vital for allergy sufferers.
Vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine so consuming large amounts call help minimise the effects. Researchers in Italy found hay fever sufferers who took 2000mg of Vitamin C daily had less congestion and wheezing than those who didn't.
It is important to relax
Various studies have linked allergies to stress and poor digestion. When you’re stressed, your body goes in to ‘red alert’. When you suffer an allergic reaction your body also goes in to red alert. It’s a kind of
overdrive, your immune system goes into a state of panic, it is triggered by stressful living and not enough rest.
Who would have known it - the mighty onion!
This is a great tip but, warning you now, it is not going to appeal to everyone!
Before you go to bed in the evening, put an onion in a glass of water. Overnight the onion will infuse into the water and act as a natural anti-histamine. Drink the onion water solution in the morning to help naturally sooth your allergies without the need to take anti-histamine drugs.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.