Yes you guessed it, our resident Naturopath is here to talk to you about hay-fever!
Hay-fever, also known as Allergic Rhinitis, is an allergic reaction to pollen from grasses, trees and weeds. Pollen causes an allergic reaction, whereby the immune system launches an attack to a relatively harmless substance with the release of histamines, causing a cascade of events to occur internally in order to combat this threat. Hence, symptoms typically present themselves in spring, due to the increased pollen count, which is worse on warm, windy days.
It may also be handy to know that you are more likely to suffer from hay-fever if you, or your family members, suffer from food allergies, or asthma and/or eczema. This genetic inherited trait is known as an atopy.
So there you have it, the 101 on hay-fever.
But how about this Spring, you clear out your medicine cupboard and make some room for food. Yes, we said food- as medicine!
Below we have five wholesome, tasty, quick and easy to prepare foods to alleviate some of the symptoms commonly associated with hay fever, to help you enjoy a brighter spring.
Note: to get the most benefit from the below tips, include 2-3 serves of each per day, making them a part of your regular diet.
Local and raw honey
Raw honey contains pollen, which is gathered by bees when they travel from flower to flower collecting nectar. So then in theory, when we consume honey, we are exposed to small amounts of pollen; which in turn, aids in desensitizing our immune system to respond to pollen. This is why when consuming raw honey for its medicinal properties, local and raw honey is best.
Ideally, start to consume 1tsp a day for six weeks prior to hay-fever season (however, you can start enjoying it now too- we are!). If that’s not for you, add it to your breakfast, either on toast or in your smoothies; and always remember to avoid heating the honey. Please note: avoid honey if you have a known allergy; and if unknown, you can test a very small amount (1/4tsp).
As turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory and possesses antioxidant activities, it could be used in your daily diet to lessen the severity of hay-fever acting to reduce the inflammation involved in the allergic response.
At Enosis we love Turmeric tea. All you need to do is boil a kettle of water; pour it into a nice big mug; and add a few slices of fresh turmeric (which looks like a smaller version of ginger with orange flesh), or a leveled teaspoon of dried turmeric. Allow it to cool and then add a squeeze of lemon a teaspoon of raw honey. Alternatively, you can do the same but with a milk of your. Just remember to omit the lemon, and in its place add cinnamon.
If you don’t like tea, you can peel and grate fresh turmeric and add it to rice dishes, soups and stir-fry. But keep in mind: it will stain your hands, so wear gloves when preparing all turmeric dishes.
Garlic, horseradish and onion
We all know that garlic helps to boost your immune function as it is a natural anti-bacterial; therefore garlic may reduce the risk of sinus congestion and subsequently infection. Similarly, horseradish can help to clear up any excess mucus. And finally, onions are rich in flavonoid quercetin, a well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemical; so it mimics anti-histamine like actions.
Garlic can be freshly diced and added to any dish just before serving (we recommend you avoid cooking it for a long period of time in order to maintain its medicinal properties). We think fresh is best, so why not make a fresh parsley, coriander and garlic pesto. Horseradish, grate it and add it to young spring root vegetables and roast them!
Onions, chop red and white salad onions up and toss them through your favourite spring salads.
Kiwi fruit and pineapple
Kiwis are supercharged with vitamin C, even more so than oranges! And Vitamin C is good because it works in multiple ways to combat hay-fever; by supporting healthy immune function, reducing inflammation, and acting as a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Similarly, pineapples contain the natural enzyme bromelain (which is concentrated in the core). This is a systemic anti-inflammatory that aids in reducing nasal and mucosal (flesh which lines your sinuses and respiratory tract) congestion.
Kiwis are great on their own, but you can be creative and add them to your morning smoothies, or evening salads; you can even freeze them and use them as eatable ice blocks when the sun is shining! Always remember that if you buy organic, you can eat the skin too (don’t mock it until you try it!). If you’re not a fan of kiwi fruit though, don’t worry- you can enjoy strawberries, lemon and lime, oranges, broccoli and red capsicums for your daily dose of vitamin C.
As for your pineapples- juice them! Try this Pina colada inspired smoothie, all you have to do is pour all of the ingredients into the blender until smooth, and then enjoy.
½ cup of pineapple (chopped in small portions)
½ cup of coconut milk (get full fat as this is likely to contain less additives)
Juice of half a lime
1 fresh, pitted medjool date
Few ice blocks
Herbal teas brewed from Nettle
A pesky weed no more, nettle has many wonderful therapeutic uses, especially useful for relieving the upper respiratory tract symptoms associated with hay fever.
Many health food stores stock nettle tea contained in easy to use tea bags if you are not into brewing.
Tessa Cowley, Enosis very own resident naturopath addresses allergies by taking a ‘whole system approach’, which would recognise the impact of other factors which may be putting strain on the immune system. It is now known that the functioning and health of the digestive system plays a significant role in immunity. Therefore assessing digestive function and factors, which may be disrupting this, such as stress, poor diet and eating practices, and/or food intolerances would be paramount in the treatment of hay fever. There are many other therapeutic strategies, and supplements which have demonstrated anti-allergic actions.
For your private consultation with Tessa please contact us on 1800 ENOSIS or make a time for a consultation,
Call us on 1800 ENOSIS or click on the contact us button and one of our friendly staff will assist you!