Hay fever symptoms include sneezing, coughing, red and watery eyes, blocked or runny nose, loss of smell, itching, headache and tiredness. In rare cases, a cough can even be present as pollen sticks to the throat.
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The symptoms of hay fever are caused by inflammation of the lining of the nasal passages, throat and eyes.
According to Bio-Kult’s nutritional therapist Hannah Braye told the Express.co.uk: “One issue is that many people only seek to alleviate symptoms once they manifest.
“Whereas to truly stop hay fever in its tracks, it’s best to support and help regulate the immune system throughout the year.”
Hannah explains that hay fever is essentially an inflammatory condition and therefore following an anti-inflammatory diet is recommended.
This diet is one that is low in pro-inflammatory foods such as sugar, refined carbohydrates, vegetable oils, high in antioxidants from fruit and vegetables, and healthy fats like omega three.
It is recommended to eat two portions of fruit and at least five portions of vegetables a day, including two to three portions of oily fish a week.
Foods high in anti-allergenic flabvonol quercetin (a plant pigment that is a potent antioxidant) like onions, garlic, broccoli, apples and berries may be particularly beneficial.
Vitamin D is extremely important for immune regulation and helps control inflammation, and Hannah recommends getting “adequate sun exposure.”
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Spending time in the sun when the pollen count is low will help symptoms stay at bay.
Hannah says that although we can synthesis vitamin D from the sun rays between October and April, supplementing over winter months may be beneficial to help alleviate symptoms.
Look after your gut
Hannah explains: “Hay fever is caused by an overreaction to the immune system. Around 70% of our immune cells reside in the lining of the digestive tract, and are supported and influenced by a diverse range of gut bacteria.
“Therefore, looking after your gut is really important to help regulate immune responses and reduce inflammation.”
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Foods which contain live bacteria like live yoghurt and kombucha can give your gut additional support.
Live bacteria supplements
In addition to looking after the health of your gut, Hannah says that research suggests that live bacteria supplements may benefit hay fever sufferers.
She says: “A recent 2017 study found that supplementing with a multi-strain live bacteria formula, containing lactobacilli and bifidobacterium species for 8 weeks, helped to alleviate hay fever symptoms and improved quality of life during allergy season in hay fever sufferers.”
It is recommended to start these supplements a few months before hay fever season as they can be taken as a preventative measure.
Hannah explains how acupuncture could help alleviate hay fever symptoms, although evidence isn’t conclusive.
One study discovered that those receiving 12 acupuncture sessions over an eight week period reported improvements in their hay fever symptoms, as well as needing less antihistamine medication.
Acupuncture involves thin needles being inserted into pressure points all over the body to help restore the body’s equilibrium.
You can find the accurate pollen count here: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/warnings-and-advice/seasonal-advice/pollen-forecast#?date=2020-05-08
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