If you’re one of the 18 million adults in the UK who has hay fever, you’ll probably be willing to try most things in an attempt to relieve some of your symptoms and make your day-to-day life that little bit better.
In this article, we want to explore the foods that could help you fight back against your hay fever and suggest ways you might introduce them into your diet.
As you’ll probably be aware, hay fever can make life unbearable during the spring and summer as you battle a runny nose, blocked nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes and uncontrollable sneezing attacks.
Green tea and citrus fruits reduce your histamine levels
If you’re partial to a cup of coffee and have several cups a day, maybe now is the time to cut down and swap your caffeine fix for a cup of green tea?
Excess caffeine is thought to lead to a congested liver and increase your histamine levels, making your symptoms more pronounced. Having a cup of peppermint tea can offer relief if your nose is congested or your sinuses are blocked.
If you eat citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit, you’ll help to reduce your histamine levels as they contain vitamin C which is a natural antihistamine.
Other foods that are rich in vitamin c include strawberries, red peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, blackcurrants and berries. Try snacking on these (either fresh or dried) rather than sugary snacks.
Soya products as a replacement for catarrh-inducing dairy products
Many hay fever sufferers and those with other allergies find that replacing dairy products with soya products can reduce catarrh.
Dairy products are often mucus-forming and Patrick Holford, of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, told the Daily Mail: “It is interesting to note that the three most common substances reacted to [pollen, wheat and milk] are all originally grass products. It may be that some hay fever sufferers become sensitised to proteins that are common to grains, grasses and possibly milk.”
Yoghurts with ‘friendly bacteria’ are thought to reduce tolerance and reduce hay fever symptoms
Further research is needed but if you already enjoy eating a yoghurt as part of your lunch, why not switch to one containing ‘friendly bacteria’ or consider taking a supplement?
Doing so may increase your tolerance and reduce your allergy symptoms.
Immune system-boosting carrots and sweet potatoes
When you’re deciding what to have for your evening meals, try to have some foods that are rich in beta-carotene which your body uses to make vitamin A.
This can help keep your mucous membranes healthy rather than dry and irritated, as well as boosting your immune system. Aside from carrots and sweet potatoes, other foods that are rich in beta-carotene include apricots, spinach and kale.
If you prefer, you could decide to take a daily vitamin A supplement instead.