Allergies – Hay fever: Allergic Rhinitis

Tips for reducing hayfever symptoms naturally

Hay fever also known as allergic rhinitis affects 20% of New Zealand’s, for some it is only experienced for a short duration of the year – most commonly through spring and summer and can vary in duration and severity.

Exaggerated immune responses to these common allergens are usually triggered by wind borne allergens from trees, grasses, weeds, mould spores, dust mites and animal dander.  This can lead to an exaggerated immune response by inhaling, touching or ingesting these commonly found culprits.  Symptoms can include runny nose, stuffy nose, coughing or an itchy throat, bouts of sneezing, irritated and watery eyes.

As part of the body’s response to these allergens, the body secretes a compound called ‘histamine’ in response to allergies, and causes dilation of capillaries leading to the unwanted symptoms. While it’s impossible to avoid the outdoors all together, there are certain ways to ease the body’s response to allergens.

Tips to reduce Histamine:

  • Avoid High Histamine Level Foods:
    • Alcohol
    • Pickled or canned foods
    • Matured cheese
    • Smoked meats: salami, ham, sausages
    • Shellfish
    • Beans and pulses: chickpeas, soy beans, peanuts
    • Nuts: walnuts, cashews
    • Cocoa based products
    • Vinegar
    • Salty snacks or sweets with preservatives and artificial colouring
  • Avoid foods that trigger the release of histamine:
    • Eggs, corn, wheat, yeast, dairy products, citrus fruits, food additives and preservatives
  • Increase Vitamin C intake
    • Food sources include: pawpaw, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, grapefruit, tomatoes, cabbage, and strawberries. *Citrus has been excluded as this can trigger the response of histamine.
  • Increase intake of quercetin rich foods:
    • Onions, garlic, capsicum, apples, blueberries
    • Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, broccoli sprouts
  • Lifestyle suggestions to reduce pollen:
    • Wash bedding and dry either in clothes dryer if windy day or you are mowing lawns.
    • Vacuum 2-3 times per week especially if you have pets – use a vacuum that has a Hepa-Filter such as a Dyson vacuum.
    • Avoid going out when it is dry and windy as pollen release is increased on a warm, dry, windy day whereas rain washes the air clean of pollens.

To find out more on how you can decrease the symptoms of your allergies, book in to see a naturopath at the Holistic Medical Centre on 09 370 0650.