While for most of us the longer days and brighter weather come as a welcome relief, for some, thoughts focus on the return of the unpleasant symptoms associated with hayfever,
which is common at this time of year.
EACH YEAR, millions of people suffer from the symptoms of hayfever, which include sneezing, itchy watery eyes, a blocked nose, watery nasal discharge and restricted breathing with
Hayfever is a type of allergic rhinitis that affects people during the spring and summer when pollen counts are high. People with allergic rhinitis may also react to other allergens, such as house dust, mould spores and animal hairs. Hayfever sufferers may find that exposure to these allergens exacerbates their symptoms.
There is growing evidence to suggest that people with hayfever are also likely to have allergies to food. Common food allergens include eggs, fish, nuts, milk, chocolate and wheat.
A hypoallergenic diet (which restricts food allergens) has been reported to help hayfever sufferers.
If you consider going down this route, first seek advice from your health store, practitioner or allergy specialist.
When the body experiences an allergic reaction, the immune system’s mast cells release histamine and produce leukotrienes. These are the chemicals of inflammation.
Quercetin and vitamin C work synergistically to restrict the release of histamine and the production of leukotrienes, thereby reducing the allergic response.
Vitamin C rich foods include citrus fruits, strawberries, peppers, broccoli and other green vegetables, whereas quercetin is found in onions, apples, some vegetables,
berries and nuts. Supplements may be valuable for those allergy sufferers who do not get sufficient of these nutrients from their diet.
MSM, a source of Sulphur, may also be useful for the support of those with allergies.
In one study, 55 volunteers diagnosed with seasonal allergies were given 1,300mg of MSM twice daily for 30 days.
A significant reduction in both the upper respiratory tract [including nasal congestion] and lower respiratory tract [including cough] was seen.
Some nutritionists recommendsupplementing with MSM on a daily basis starting with 1,000mg per day, or half this if in combination with the other nutrients such as Vitamin C and Quercetin.
Hayfever sufferers can try adding garlic and raw onion to their regular diets during the spring, as these foods are known to ease sinus congestion.