With the warmer weather coming and spring just around the corner, now is the time to discuss seasonal allergies, otherwise known as hayfever or allergic rhinitis.
Seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to environmental allergens such as pollens, dust mites, animal hair or moulds.
Majority of the time it is associated with spring, when airborne grass pollens are spiking, however hay fever can occur all year round.
The conventional treatment for seasonal allergies is anti-histamines, nose sprays and avoiding the source.
For some people these can be effective, however it is a little challenging to avoid the source when it's outside your door unless springtime hibernation is your vibe!
There are many ways you can reduce your symptoms of seasonal allergies and support your immune system to calm down and reduce the allergic response:
Consume more zinc rich foods
Zinc is a nutrient which is incredibly beneficial for the health of the immune system and works to maintain skin and mucosal membrane integrity. Zinc plays a role in cellular growth and differentiation of immune cells.
Zinc rich foods include: oysters, beef, lamb, turkey, cashews, lentils, beans, chickpeas, red rice, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, salmon, sunflower seeds.
I recommend zinc rich foods rather than a supplement as zinc supplementation can lower copper levels in the body.
The key vitamins in relation to the allergic response are Vitamin A, C and E (or Vitamin ACE in my eyes). These vitamins are key for supporting the immune response in numerous and Vitamin C in particular is a natural anti-histamine making it ideal for preventing seasonal allergies.
Vitamin A rich foods include: carrots, sweet potato, capsicum, liver (organic), cod liver oil, pumpkin, spinach, broccoli.
Vitamin C rich foods include: kiwi fruit, capsicums, strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts.
Vitamin E rich foods include: almonds, sweet potato, tuna, sunflower seeds, tuna, hazelnuts, peanut butter, avocado, mango.
Eating a balanced diet of whole foods with a lot of variety of vegetables assists in ensuring you are getting your vitamin requirements.
There are specific strains of probiotics that are beneficial to the allergic response. Probiotics work within the digestive tract but they can have systemic effects. 70% of the immune system lies within the gastrointestinal lymphatic tissue lying within the gut mucosa so targeting the gut mucosa with probiotic support is key to supporting the immune system.
Each strain of probiotics has a specific role so choosing the correct strain is important. Want to know more about probiotics? Have a read of our probiotic post - link here.
Look at the gut
Reducing mucous production in the sinuses can be helpful in reducing symptoms. One of the ways to do this is to avoid foods that promote mucous formation such as dairy products.
Identifying food intolerances can also be a key part to reducing the immune response within your sinuses. Food intolerances can cause disturbances with your immune function as the gut and immune system work so closely together.
One way to investigate food intolerances is by using a IgG food intolerance test, to find out more information, have a read of our Food Intolerance post.
Gut health in general is also key for supporting a reduction of symptoms and can improve hayfever greatly by reducing inflammation, supporting the integrity of the gastrointestinal lining.
Checking your vitamin D levels are optimal is key in any immune condition. Coming out of winter and living in Melbourne can mean that your vitamin D levels are low in spring time.
Low Vitamin D levels have been associated with an increased prevalence of hayfever indicating that we need vitamin D to support our immune function and reducing our symptoms.
Before supplementing, it is important to know what your vitamin D levels are to know which form of supplementation and how much is relevant for you.
There are a multitude of lifestyle amendments you can make also to reduce the effect of seasonal allergies which have all been shown to be beneficial including stress management, optimising sleep and ensuring your head is propped up during the night, and also undertaking some light to moderate exercise.
Still struggling with seasonal allergies? Hit the Book Now button above to work with a practitioner to get some support.