Can juice help with hay fever symptoms?
The summer months are fast approaching and for many, spring is not just the rebirth of nature but it is also the beginning of “allergy season”.
Hay fever is said to be the most common allergy causing struggles for sufferers daily. It is important to protect your body with vital nutrients during spring and summer whether you are a hay fever sufferer or not. Natural remedies for the symptoms of hay fever include many fruits and vegetables high in vitamin-C. So, what better time than now to give you the lowdown on how we can soothe our allergies through juice.
What Is Hay fever?
Hay fever is a common allergic reaction to pollen in the air, affecting the upper airways. The medical term for the symptoms it causes is ‘allergic rhinitis’.
Seasonal changes can often have adverse effects on people suffering with hay fever. The spring months especially trigger allergies. This is because in spring the level of carbon dioxide spikes which causes an increase in temperature, resulting in the emergence of pollen.
Symptoms of hay fever often include those similar to a cold; sneezing, a runny, stuffy nose and sore eyes. However some people suffer from more severe symptoms including fatigue, itching and asthma-like symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Hay fever symptoms can often be alleviated by making a few dietary changes in the allergy season.
What Causes Hay fever?
Allergy symptoms occur when your body overreacts to normally harmless substances, such as pollen. These allergens set off a chain reaction within the immune system.
To begin with, antibodies to the allergen are produced and attach themselves to certain cells. If these cells come into contact with the allergen again, they can "react" by releasing chemical compounds like histamine. These compounds can then cause allergic symptoms such as sneezing or itching eyes. Histamine regulates a variety of physiological functions by playing a key role in the inflammatory response of the body
What Natural Remedies for Hay Fever Are There?
While treatment usually involves over-the-counter medicines, lifestyle changes may also help ease your springtime sniffles. It is difficult to minimise the amount of pollen, but you can reduce your body's histamine reaction to the pollen!
Adding certain foods to your diet could actually help relieve symptoms like the nose-dripping and eye-watering. From reducing inflammation to boosting the immune system, there are a number of dietary choices that may help mitigate the miseries of seasonal allergies.
Here are 5 natural ways to help your hay ever:
1. Bee pollen isn’t just food for bees! This mixture of enzymes, nectar, honey, flower pollen, and wax is often used as a curative for hay fever. Bee pollen has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial properties and inhibits the activation of mast cells, a crucial step in preventing allergic reactions.
2. Citrus fruits, specifically ones containing vitamin C can help allergy sufferers. Eating foods high in vitamin C has been shown to decrease hay fever symptoms, and the irritation of the upper respiratory tract caused by pollen from blooming plants.
So during allergy season, make sure you take on high-vitamin C citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes and berries!
3. Turmeric is well-known as an anti-inflammatory powerhouse for a good reason. Its active ingredient, curcumin, has been linked to reduced symptoms of many inflammation-driven diseases, and could help minimise the swelling and irritation caused by hay fever.
Turmeric can be taken in pills, tinctures, teas, soups or juices.
4. Ginger contains anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory phytochemical compounds which help to alleviate ailments such as nausea and joint pain. Inflammation can cause unpleasant allergy symptoms, like swelling and irritation in the nasal passages, eyes, and throat. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce these symptoms and seasonal allergies. There doesn’t appear to be a difference in the anti-inflammatory capacity of fresh ginger versus dried. Ginger has a diverse taste and flavour and is perfectly cooked in your favourite meal or raw in a nutrient dense juice
5. Tomatoes are another excellent source of vitamin C. One medium-size tomato contains about 26 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, another antioxidant compound that helps quell systemic inflammation. Lycopene is more easily absorbed in the body when it’s cooked, so choose a nutrient dense tomato soup to boost your vitamin C levels.
Juice For Hay fever Relief: What Are Some of The Best?
Adding fresh nutrient rich juices is a simple way to incorporate hay fever battling fruit and vegetables into your diet without any fuss. Consider fruit and vegetable juices high in vitamin C to combat hay fever symptoms, and the irritation of the upper respiratory tract.
Fruits high in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, sweet peppers, berries, and pineapple. Vitamin C dense vegetables include tomatoes, broccoli and collard greens.
Why not also protect and defend your immune system by adding other anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric and ginger? Both of which will transform your juice or food!
Anna Garner-Currie, Nutritionist