​Eat to beat hayfever

Apr 20 2022

​Eat to beat hayfever

If spring and summer mean sneezing, streaming eyes and a scratchy throat, anti-histamines will most likely be your go-to remedy for hayfever. But did you know that what you eat can also make a difference? Certain foods can dampen down your allergic response and others can make your symptoms worse. Here we take a look at what to eat to beat hayfever (or at least dial down those sneezes), and what foods to avoid if you’re allergy prone.

Load up on vitamin C

By filling your diet with fresh fruit and vegetables, you can rely on a constant supply of vitamin C, which will support your nasal lining and reduce the amount of histamine in your blood. From brassicas to berries there are lots of delicious ways to boost your dietary intake of vitamin C. Strawberries, for example, are an excellent source of vitamin C and actually contain more vitamin C gram for gram than your average orange, although citrus fruits are of course high in vitamin C, as are acerola cherries, blackcurrants, kiwis, red peppers, Brussel sprouts, broccoli and kale. All of these foods contain good amounts of natural vitamin C, and many also contain beta-carotene which is excellent for the respiratory tract.

Reduce your dairy intake

Many people with hayfever and other allergies, can struggle with dairy, as dairy foods are mucous-forming which can make hayfever symptoms worse. Try to keep dairy products to a minimum or seek out dairy-free alternatives such as rice, oat or coconut milk .

Ditch the sweet stuff

Sugar can also be problematic. Refined sugar can trigger a blood sugar spike which in turn will activate histamine release. For a natural sugar fix, snack on fresh or dried fruit instead.

Eat anti-inflammatory foods

As allergies are linked to inflammation, an anti-inflammatory diet can help with allergy symptoms. Eat lots of oily fish or plant oils, nuts and seeds, and plenty of fresh vegetables and berries, including blueberries and blackberries; they are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can help to reduce inflammation. Our spiky friend pineapple is worth singling out as it contains an anti-inflammatory enzyme called bromelain.

Replace refined foods with brown rice, millet, barley, quinoa or buckwheat. These foods can be eaten in their whole food form, or try the pastas, noodles, breads and crackers made from them in place of your usual choices.

Eat more ginger

Eating more fresh ginger will act as a natural decongestant by calming the inflammation that leads to allergies. Ginger is used in all sorts of dishes from stir fries and curries, to marinades and jam. You can also drink it grated or sliced in ginger tea.

Swap out coffee

If your nasal passages are pouring, give anti-inflammatory green, white or nettle tea a try. Lots of caffeine can trigger histamine release which will make hayfever symptoms worse. Miss your coffee? Try a caffeine-free alternative like A.Vogel Bambu Coffee Substitute.

Be curious about quercetin

Quercetin, found naturally in apples (with the skin on), red onions, capers, and black tea, is recognised for its antihistamine activity. Quercetin supplements are also available. A typical dose for hayfever is between 200 and 400mg up to three times a day. Lamberts® Quercetin 500mg Tablets provide 500mg quercetin per tablet, significantly more than a whole kilo of apples!

Pre and probiotics

Keeping your gut healthy with a diet rich in pre and probiotics can also reduce your general level of inflammation and hence help to dial down your immune system’s 'over' response to allergens such as pollen.

And what about honey?

The jury’s still out! Many do advocate eating natural honey from your local area to dampen your immune response, others state this is not the correct type of pollen linked to what would result in allergies so the debate continues. It might be worth a try – honey certainly has plenty of health benefits – but remember not to give honey to children under one due to the risk of listeria.