Spring has sprung here in the Southwest and with it comes those annoying hay fever symptoms for a certain percentage of the population. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes and nose, and headache. Interestingly enough, many integrative health experts agree that hay fever may be a sign of underlying food sensitivities. People often assume that because their symptoms are exacerbated by environmental or airborne allergens, food is not a problem for them. Were you aware that various types of pollens can cause food allergic or food sensitivity cross reactions? For example, ragweed pollen may cause an individual to react to bananas, honey, melon, chamomile tea, and sunflower seeds. Also consider the fact that the three most prevalent reactive substances (pollen, wheat, and milk) are all originally grass products. It’s possible that some hay fever sufferers become sensitized to proteins that are common to those grains, grasses, and milk. Wheat allergy or sensitivity symptoms include asthma, itchy throat, itchy scalp, and itchy or irritated skin.
So, what do you do if you’re experiencing hay fever symptoms? Here’s a list of some helpful hints:
- Eliminate mucus-forming foods such as dairy products, sugars, and excessive starches. Also avoid wheat, alcohol, caffeine, peanuts, chocolate, bananas, citrus fruit, and chocolate.
- Reduce the tendency for the body to form histamine by boosting your diet with foods rich in calcium, magnesium, methionine, and flavonoids (these include nuts, cabbage, and blackberries).
- Take omega-3 essential fatty acids such as is found in fish oil, krill oil, and flax seed oil due to its anti-inflammatory effect.
- Take bioflavonoids such as quercetin – they are natural anti-histamines and strongly anti-allergenic. Vitamin C and bromelain can enhance the action of bioflavonoids.
- Herbal remedies that can help to alleviate hay fever symptoms include stinging nettles, red clover, eyebright, and yarrow. In addition, turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
- Nasal lavage or irrigation can be helpful such as using a neti pot. However, it is crucial that you use only pure, sterile water for this purpose, as exposing your sinuses to contaminated water can have serious health consequences. Tap water is not sterile – in fact, it is often heavily contaminated.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/49766127@N00/525191643″>hooikoorts / hayfever</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>