Spring is finally here and whilst the days are slowly warming up, for some of us spring can mean allergy season! Welcome to the season of runny noses, watery itchy eyes and sneezing. Sounds great huh?! But what can you do to reduce the symptoms? Here are a few tips and tricks to help manage symptoms and get you through spring and raring to go into summer.
Spring is synonymous with allergens from pollens including grass, flowers, weeds or trees. Think of spring and you can think of freshly cut grass and the most common cause of allergic rhinitis - hello hay-fever.
If you have a pollen allergy, for example, your body will produce a large amount of IgE (allergen-specific antibodies) whenever you come into contact with pollen. These antibodies bind to mast cells. The mast cells release histamine into the bloodstream and with mast cells being most abundant in our connective tissue, lungs, and nose and are key to the bodies allergic response. This release of histamine leads to the cause of symptoms of sneezing, runny nose etc. It can also exacerbate atopic dermatitis, resulting in patches of dry itchy skin.
One of the best ways to reduce symptoms is to avoid the cause of the allergy. Essentially this means staying indoors when pollen counts are high to try and reduce the risk of an allergic response. As this isn’t always possible, there are a few key nutrients that can help support the process of reducing histamines.
First and foremost, reducing the intake of mucus-forming foods like dairy can help. An important FYI, when adjusting the dietary intake of food groups like dairy, ensure you are sourcing essential nutrients such as calcium from other foods and always seek professional advice.
Vitamin C reduces the release of histamines and therefore increased intake of foods high in vitamin C is really beneficial.
Some of our favourite vitamin C sources are:
Zinc plays a key role in supporting immune function and zinc can help to suppress inflammation in the respiratory tract caused by infections and allergens.
Great food sources with zinc include:
Anti-inflammatory foods not only support reducing allergies but if you are suffering from itchy skin with your runny nose, some nutrients are really beneficial. A predominantly wholefoods diet including lots of fruit and vegetables will have you covered and omega 3 fatty acids, in particular, are also really important.
These are our top 5 sources to help support the reduction of allergies:
oily fish (salmon, trout, sardines)
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