Hay fever can be a real drag for sufferers — itchy runny eyes, tickly throat, relentless sneezing, a blocked and runny nose. Symptoms can last for days on end making sufferers feel lousy and draining their energy levels. Hay fever also comes at a time when many young adults are trying to study or sit for their exams, which is an added bug bear however the good news is you don’t have to suffer.
So what can be done through diet and naturopathy to cure and prevent hay fever symptoms returning? Well first it’s important to note why exactly hay fever occurs; what is happening in the body to create these symptoms?
Hay fever, like any other allergy, exists in response to a release of histamine in the body. Histamine is the chemical (neuro-transmitter) your body produces when you’re having an allergic reaction. There is always some histamine in your body and a mosquito bite for example causes your body to release more histamine in the area of the bite, making your skin red and itchy. In extreme cases, histamine levels in someone who is allergic to a bee sting or a particular food such as strawberries can be elevated to such levels that it causes anaphylactic shock.
Histamine also regulates the body’s thirst mechanism and water intake. In a condition of dehydration, histamine production increases, this in turn swells the body tissues, including the small sacs of the lungs. Allergies and asthma cause histamine to be released because histamine is part of the body’s immune response. According to Dr. Batmenghelidj in Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, dehydration is the main reason for histamine release. Antihistamine medication only block some of your body’s histamine receptors (relieving some histamine-related symptoms), they do not remove histamine and can leave you feeling drowsy and unable to concentrate. So what can we do to hydrate the body in order to stop this release of histamine?
Firstly, we look to diet and remove any foods or drinks that challenge the internal balance and cause dehydration. These include wheat, sugar, caffeine, fizzy drinks, processed foods, red meat, dairy, refined carbohydrates such as white rice.
Our lifestyle can also dehydrate us so try to find ways of coping in stressful situations for example. Support your body and mental wellbeing with plenty of self-nurturing and care.
Foods that help to hydrate the body and are non-challenging are:
Organic fruits and vegetables, short grain brown rice, quinoa, millet, vegetarian protein sources such as chickpeas, nuts and seeds, water, coconut water, coconut meat , dark green leafy vegetables, soaked linseeds and a constant and high quality source of Omega 3 fatty acids. It is important to note that water and oil work together — this becomes all too clear when studying the inner workings of the cell and the phospholipid membrane. In order to be properly hydrated you need them both.
Particular foods that help with hay fever come via our bee friends. Bee pollen is very high in B vitamins particularly Vitamin B5 which supports the adrenal glands and helps with any allergic responses in the body. B vitamins are also used up very quickly when the body encounters stress so this is a useful food for most people.Naturopathic techniques to help with hay fever include water enemas and castor oil packing, used as part of a healing programme but should only be used under the instruction of a qualified naturopath.
So don’t let hay fever get to you this year — get healthy and get happy!