Fiona Scott Media Consultanccy

Hay fever tips from nutritional therapist Caroline Peyton of Peyton Principles

Nutritional therapist Caroline Peyton is sharing some tips about dealing with hay fever which affects one in four people, around 16 million people in the UK.

Hay fever, or seasonal rhinitis, is a common allergic reaction to tree and grass pollen. It can cause immense discomfort and irritation due to typical symptoms like itchy eyes, throat, sneezing, blocked, runny nose, watery eyes, blocked sinuses or headaches.

At this time of year grass pollen is an issue, tree pollen is prevalent between February to June and finally weed pollen between June and September.

Caroline who runs clinics in Wiltshire and the Cotswolds, said: "Most people only think to take action to relieve current symptoms, but a longer-term preparatory approach well ahead of the season is recommended as it can help reduce the body's response to pollen in the future.

 

"Hay fever is an immune response, where cells in the respiratory tract release a compound called histamine in response to IgE antibodies. This causes the mucus membranes that line the inside of the airway to react, affecting the nose, eyes, throat and ears. The body does this as a protective mechanism."

Here are some easy was to help find relief through the current season.

  1. Add grated or ground ginger and turmeric to your meals as they help to inhibit the inflammatory compounds that cause the respiratory airways to swell.
  2. Eat citrus fruits, peppers, berries and kiwi fruit. These foods are rich in vitamin C which helps to break down and excrete histamine circulating in the body. Vitamin C also protects respiratory cells from the excess inflammatory damage that is created. 
  3. Have two to three portions of oily fish every week like salmon, mackerel and sardines. Research has shown it helps to reduce the narrowing of airways, most likely due to the anti-inflammatory properties in the fats. 
  4. Eat more onions, cooked or raw. Onions contain a plant compound called quercetin which has been found to act as a natural anti-histamine. 
  5. Drink nettle tea. It is rich in vitamin C and can help lower histamine that is triggered in response to pollen.

Rather than wait for the hay fever season to begin, the best approach, according to Caroline, is to support your body well before the start of the season.

"Seventy per cent of the body's immunity starts in the gut and the gut bacteria (the microbiome) play a significant part in supporting and regulating the immune system," Caroline said.

"Not all of the trillions of gut bacteria are healthy. Pathogenic ones can start to multiply and upset the delicate balance. So having a healthy balanced gut really helps in minimising symptoms."

The following can help create a healthy balanced gut:

  1. Eat fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut or dink kombucha. These naturally bacteria rich foods and drinks help to keep the gut bacteria in healthy balance.
  2. Minimise processed foods, saturated fats and sugars in your diet. These feed pathogenic bacteria which we need to keep in check.
  3. Eat unsweetened stewed apple. Apple is rich in a soluble fibre called pectin which acts as a prebiotic which feeds beneficial gut bacteria. It also has an anti-inflammatory action in the gut too.
  4. Eat foods rich in polyphenols like raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, pomegranate, flaxseeds, olives and green tea. These not only support the growth of beneficial bacteria but help lower pathogenic strains. They also support a healthy gut barrier.
  5. Consider making bone broth from your meat carcass. Bone broth is rich in vitamins, minerals and collagen, helping to keep the gut wall strong and healthy.
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