The number of hay fever sufferers is at an all-time high in the UK with around 25 per cent of the population suffering with mild to moderate symptoms during the summer.
And if you are one of them you may have noticed you are suffering more. Symptoms are worse for many people possibly due to a reduced immune tolerance as a result of prolonged lockdowns.
Here are some easy ways to support yourself through the season:
Add ginger and turmeric foods to your diet as they help to inhibit the inflammatory compounds that cause the respiratory airways to swell.
Grate ginger into a glass of lemon water or into a smoothie or stir-fry. It adds a real zing to your food.
Make a cooling turmeric tea with a plant milk, turmeric and a pinch of black pepper and a teaspoon of coconut oil (as both aid absorption of the active ingredient curcumin). Heat together then allow to cool.
You can support your body to calm its inflammatory response by avoiding (or significantly reducing) sugar, simple carbohydrates, processed foods, seed oils and stimulants (tea, coffee, alcohol).
In their place aim to eat a natural wholefood diet with complex carbohydrates (like brown rice), nuts, seeds, pulses and vegetables together with three portions of oily fish every week (salmon, sardines, mackerel).
The fats in oily fish convert to anti-inflammatory messengers sending out a strong signal to those inflamed airways to calm down! So add oily fish to your barbeque rather than meat.
Vitamin C (especially rich in peppers, kiwi fruit, berries and dark green leafy vegetables) 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. It is histamine which causes hay fever symptoms of itchy, swollen eyes, runny nose and sneezes.
Magnesium has a similar mechanism to vitamin C, with research showing that a deficiency may actually increase histamine production. Magnesium-rich foods to include in your diet are brown rice, other wholegrains, nuts, seeds and dark green leafy vegetables. Excess mucus during a hay fever outbreak is annoying and unpleasant. Some foods can increase mucus production in susceptible individuals.
Review your diet and look for ways to reduce your intake of dairy, grains (especially white grains), starchy foods like potatoes, parsnips and bananas and sugars. You may not need to completely eliminate these foods but if you have a high intake of these foods day to day look for ways to reduce your intake by choosing alternatives.
I often recommend quinoa in place of grains and potatoes, oat cakes may be better than bread, nut milks in place of dairy, coconut yoghurt in place of standard yoghurt and berries in place of bananas.