Can you eat to beat hay fever?


Seasonal allergies can significantly affect your quality of life and although the most effective way to fight them off is to take your regular antihistamine, research has suggested that diet may also play a role by controlling underlying inflammation, dilating air passages, and providing other relieving effects.

Here’s a list of foods we should be eating more of….

OILY FISH

Oily fish such as salmon and trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce inflammation inside your body. This is said to be a critical factor in controlling allergies. It is recommended that you eat at least two portions of fish a week, with one of these being oily! Other sources of oily fish include: mackerel, herring and sardines.

FRUIT AND VEG

Fruit and vegetables have many benefits when it comes to your health and it is important to eat a variety! They are packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre which support the immune system and may help fight off inflammation. It is recommended that adults consume 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, however, most people aren’t getting enough. Fresh, frozen, canned, and dried options in cooked or raw forms all count, as do vegetable and fruit juices with no added sugar. Eat a rainbow and go for colourful fruit and vegetables such as blueberries, blackberries, kale, broccoli, apples, strawberries, spinach, pineapple, squash and avocado.

KEFIR

Kefir is a cultured, fermented milk drink that is rich in probiotic bacteria as well as protein and calcium. You can buy it ready made from supermarkets or try making your own with kefir grains that you can reuse over and over again! Evidence suggests that taking probiotics in food or as a supplement could improve the quality of life of hay fever sufferers, however this is still an emerging area of research and there isn’t currently enough strong evidence to recommend this as treatment.

NUTS

Other inflammatory fighting foods are nuts, such as walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds and cashews, thanks to them being packed with monounsaturated fat. A handful of unsalted nuts make a great snack or alternatively sprinkle them on your breakfast, curries or stir fries. Again, it is important to have a selection as they contain different vitamins and minerals which offer a variety of health benefits.

Is there anything we should be cutting back on…

Foods high in fat, salt and sugar, as well as alcohol and caffeine are said to make hay fever worse as they can increase histamine release or contribute to inflammation in the body. Although the evidence isn’t strong enough to support the link between these foods and seasonal allergies, it is recommended that they should be consumed in moderation within recommended limits.

With all this being said, it is always important to follow a healthy, balanced diet, throughout the year and not just during the spring and summer months! This is helpful for controlling multiple conditions, not just allergies. Your diet should consist of a variety of nutrient-dense foods from all food groups, whilst limiting foods high in saturated fat, sodium and sugar.

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