Spring allergies often flare up at this time of year and can go on being an irritation until summer is over: whilst it’s lovely that springtime is in the air, unfortunately for many of us, it means that pollen is too.
But, there are natural ways in which you can help your body fight an unwanted reaction to all the beautiful spring flowers, freshly mown grass and trees that are bursting into bloom.
The factor lurking behind the majority of most spring allergies is pollen. Trees, flowers, grass and even weed release pollen into the air so that they can fertilise other plants. You may have noticed that whenever someone is mowing a lawn that your hayfever goes into overdrive and that’s because lots of tiny little grains are being released into the air. Likewise, windy days can wreak havoc for allergy sufferers as pollen can travel for miles.
If you suffer from spring allergies, it’s because your body sees these tiny grains of pollen as would be attackers. Your immune system releases antibodies in an attempt to fight off allergens, which causes histamines to be released into your bloodstream. This then triggers flu-like symptoms, including a runny or blocked up nose, headaches, sneezing and itchy, red eyes.
Many people end up feeling so rotten as a result of their symptoms that they find it impossible to function without medication from their doctor. But there are other ways you can fight off spring allergies.
Foods that are rich in vitamin C have been shown to help allergy symptoms. One of the best groups for this is the cruciferous family of broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts. There’s solid research that show that consuming 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day eases blocked up sinuses and other allergy symptoms. One portion of broccoli adds up to 80 milligrams and one large orange contains 100 milligrams. If ever there was a time to start juicing then this is it. If you start the day with a vitamin C packed smoothie you’ll be well on your way to that 500 mgs.
Studies have shown that foods which are rich in omega 3 such as salmon, tuna, walnuts and flaxseed oil will help combat the inflammation that is associated with allergies. The added bonus is that your skin will be glowing from the essential fatty acids.
There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence suggesting that one glass of kefir before bed each night completely cures all allergies and hayfever. It makes sense from a scientific point of view, because the ‘good bacteria’ in probiotics help supercharge your immune system, often seeing off allergic reactions before the symptoms start. If you don’t like kefir, you can try kombucha or sauerkraut.
Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory and healing powers. And, when it comes to helping your body wrestle allergies it’s a miracle worker. We like making a tonic which consists of one tablespoon of ground turmeric, a pinch of black pepper, the juice of one lemon, 3 tablespoons of local raw honey, and 3 tablespoons of raw, apple cider vinegar. Mix into a paste and then add one tablespoon to a mug of warm water making a soothing hot tea. It’s an instant feel-good drink.
A lot of allergy sufferers swear that a good way to fight symptoms is by finding a local honey producer. Adding a couple of spoonfuls of local bee pollen and local raw honey to your diet each day is said to help strengthen your body’s natural defences to allergies to the pollen in your local area. Do find a reputable supplier though, and ensure that the bees are happy and not mistreated.
Other things you can do is to stay hydrated and consume lots of warming vegetable soups. Watch out for foods that might cause inflammation, like dairy and refined sugar and try to get lots of quality sleep, which helps your body heal. Another tip is to wash your hair and shower after you have been outside and to make sure you vacuum your house and wash your sheets regularly in case pollen is lurking in your home or place of work.
As always, this article is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you are struggling with hayfever or are worried about your intake of nutrients, it’s important to seek advice from your doctor or a health professional.