Tips to reduce hay fever symptoms naturally
Every year I wake up one Spring morning with itchy eyes, a runny nose, feeling pretty lethargic, and I have that sinking feeling in my gut. It’s pollen season. And is it just me or does it seem to get earlier every year?
Because I have histamine intolerance, a condition where the body does not break down histamines as efficiently (causing allergy like symptoms), I can get symptomatic during pollen season. Like many with this condition, what I eat has a bearing on my symptoms as some foods are very high in histamine or could even be helpful to break down histamine, and so making a few changes here can really help.
The same changes can help if you’re a hay fever sufferer, as reducing your overall intake of histamine will mean less intense symptoms. If you’re struggling with pollen season, try a few of these simple steps.
How to reduce hay fever symptoms naturally
Reduce high histamine foods
You might be surprised to know that some foods can make things worse. Foods with high levels of histamine can intensify symptoms for some people. These include fermented foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut, aged cheese or miso, and tomatoes, avocados and aubergines.
There are also foods which don’t contain high levels of histamine, but can trigger cells to release histamine. These include strawberries, raspberries and bananas.
Histamine aside, many of these foods are very healthful for you so it’s important to not simply cut all of them out. Being mindful of your choices during pollen season and trying to opt for other healthy foods instead, can be a good way forward. You may find that some foods make more of a difference for you than others.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but as alcoholic beverages like wine and beer are produced by fermentation, they are high in histamine and can worsen hay fever symptoms. If you’re suffering, try limiting your alcohol consumption.
Try anti-histamine foods
Food that are rich in flavonoids such as Quercetin, Beta Carotene and Vitamin C could help reduce symptoms. Try adding in more carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, garlic, ginger, spinach, kale and blueberries to your diet. Rooibos tea could also be a good addition as it contains high levels of Quercetin and it’s also non-caffeinated so you can enjoy it through the day.
Drink lots of water
Histamine is naturally produced when we are dehydrated, so make sure to drink 1 to 2 litres of water through the day to stay topped up. Water can also thin the mucous membranes in your nasal passages, which is helpful if you have a stuffed up nose.
Keep that pillow case clean
Often the simple things are the most effective, and it’s true in this case. Pollen travels in to the house with you in your hair and on your clothes, so during peak pollen season, try to shower at the end of the day to wash pollen off your body. It’s also useful to wash your pillow cases frequently to prevent any pollen that’s in your hair getting into bedding and affecting you.
A natural alternative
Of course, taking anti-histamines can bring much needed relief. However, trying a few natural methods can help support you and could mean you are able to reduce use of over the counter anti-histamines and the associated side effects.
I find Hay Max gel really helpful. It’s a natural beeswax gel that you apply around your nostrils before you head outside each day. It acts as a natural barrier, trapping pollen and can help to reduce symptoms.
Getting through pollen season
Trying a few of these methods can support you through the high pollen days. Overall, eating well and including lots of anti-inflammatory foods (think lots of fruits and veggies), while you reduce alcohol and foods higher in histamine will help.
Are there any other natural methods you use to help hay fever symptoms? Let me know in the comments below.