Now that we’re transitioning into warmer weather, some of us may be experiencing seasonal allergies – also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis. This usually happens in spring or summer, when our immune system overreacts to allergens (like plant pollen) which results in a lot of sneezing, itching and congestion.
The good news is, there are natural allergy immunity boosts you can try out to combat your allergy symptoms. Your dietary choices can help to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. Adding certain foods to your diet may help relieve symptoms like the nose-dripping and eye-watering, so you can just enjoy the sunshine without the sneezing.
Here’s 5 natural allergy and immunity boosters you should try out…
For thousands of years, ginger has been a natural health remedy for a plethora of problems, including nausea and joint pain. It contains antioxidative, anti-inflammatory phytochemical compounds. In a 2016 study, ginger suppressed the production of pro-inflammatory proteins in the blood of mice, which led to reduced allergy symptoms. You can take either fresh or dried ginger.
How: Add it to stir fries, curries, baked goods or make ginger tea!
2. Bee pollen
Bee pollen comes in small pellets, with a flavour some describe as bittersweet or nutty. It is a mixture of enzymes, nectar, honey and flower pollen, and is a known curative for hay fever because research has shown it can have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties. Some evidence supports the consumption of local bee pollen to help build a natural resistance to the pollen that you’re allergic to. The crucial factor is that the honey must be local so that the same local pollen your body is allergic to is contained in the bee pollen. Shopping in your local farmer’s market is a good starting point.
How: You can try sprinkling some on yogurt or cereal, or blending it into a smoothie.
3. Citrus fruits
Vitamin C may help shorten the duration of a cold, and help with allergy sufferers. Studies have shown that eating foods high in vitamin C decreases the irritation of the upper respiratory tract caused by pollen from blooming plants. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, sweet peppers and berries are a good source of vitamin C.
How: top your yoghurt and muesli with berries, make fresh squeezed juices and add slices of fruit to your water bottle to lightly flavour it.
The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been associated with reducing symptoms of many inflammation-driven diseases. This well known anti-inflammatory may help to minimize the swelling and irritation caused by allergic rhinitis. A study with mice saw that treating them with turmeric reduced their allergic response. You can consume turmeric in the form of pills, supplements, teas or eaten in foods.
How: if used in cooking, pair it with black pepper because it increases the bioavailability of curcumin by up to 2000%!
5. Oils and Omega 3
Swelling, irritation in the nasal passages, eyes and throat come from inflammatory issues. Omega 3 fatty acids can bolster your allergy resistance and even improve asthma. Oily fish and emu oil contains fatty acids that help decrease allergic sensitivity, and reduce the narrowing of airways that occurs in asthma and seasonal allergies. This is likely due to the fact that omega 3 has anti-inflammatory properties.
How: add a few drops of emu oil to your morning muesli or orange juice for a daily boost of anti-inflammatories.
While these foods aren’t meant to replace your regular treatment for seasonal allergies, they’re great to incorporate into your overall diet and lifestyle. Making the right dietary additions may help you to reduce your allergic responses so you can savor the springtime, instead of itching your way through the seasons.