Spring aka hay fever season has arrived which means plenty of red eyes and runny noses. Hannah Braye, Bio-Kult’s Technical advisor reveals 5 ways to help reduce symptoms.
Whilst many of the population feel happy about the arrival of Spring, for those who suffer with hay fever it can be a very different story.
Hay fever (also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis), is a skewed immune reaction to inhaled pollen released from local trees, grasses and flowers.
It’s symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, itchy, red watery eyes, blocked or runny nose, loss of smell, itching, headache and tiredness can be uncomfortable and significantly impact on quality of life.
Here are 5 tips to help stop hay fever from ruining your day…
#1 Reduce your exposure to pollen
Tracking the pollen count in your area and where possible, avoiding spending lots of time outdoors when it’s at its highest is likely to reduce exposure and irritation.
Keeping windows and doors shut on high pollen days can also help – instead using fans or air con to keep cool is also advisable.
When you have been outside, showering when you get home and especially before bed will help remove pollen residue from the skin, hair and nasal passages. This may also help reduce irritation overnight, helping you to get a better night’s sleep.
In addition, try irrigating the nasal passages once a day using a neti-pot and saline solution, to remove pollen residue and help clear any stuffiness.
#2 Eat more fermented foods
Recent research points to an important role of the gut microbiome in allergic conditions.
It is well established that the microbiome can modulate immune responses and bacterial dysbiosis (an imbalance of the gut microbes) is a risk factor for inflammatory conditions, such as hay fever.
It is thought that fermented foods containing lactic-acid producing bacteria are able to deviate the immune response away from a pro-allergy response.
Therefore, regularly incorporating traditionally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, live yoghurt, miso and kombucha, which contain live bacteria in the diet may be beneficial, reducing some of the symptoms of allergy in adults with hay fever or nasal allergies.
#3 Take a probiotic supplement
A study published in 2019 showed that a multi-strain live bacteria supplementation taken for eight weeks by individuals with hay fever reduced overall symptom severity, the frequency of medication use and improved quality of life.
Although beneficial effects of live bacteria supplementation have been shown even when commenced at the height of allergy symptoms, it is hypothesised that they may be even more effective when taken for a period prior to hay fever season as a preventative measure.
#4 Try acupuncture
Increasing evidence is supporting the ability of acupuncture to help modulate the immune system, with potential benefits in allergic conditions.
Analysing the results of 13 studies, it was found that compared with control groups, acupuncture treatment group showed a significant reduction in nasal symptoms, medication scores and IgE antibody levels as well as a significant improvement in quality of life.
#5 Eat more quercetin and vitamin C rich foods
The phytonutrient quercetin is known for its anti-allergic properties, and is therefore a useful addition to any anti-allergy diet.
Quercetin is thought to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties. The main food sources are vegetables such as onions, garlic and broccoli, fruits such as apples, berries and grapes, some herbs and green and black tea.
Quercetin appears to work synergistically with vitamin C, so topping up on lots of vitamin C rich foods such as broccoli, kiwi, strawberries, peppers and parsley is a good idea.
Vitamin C is also an anti-oxidant which protects cells against free-radicals in allergic inflammatory responses and studies have found that children with increased vitamin C consumption had fewer hay-fever symptoms.
Source: Hay fever season: 5 proven ways to reduce symptoms – Healthista