- As seasons change, so does the body’s response to the external stimulus. Many people suffer allergy attacks caused by hay fever.
- The symptoms, though not caused by a virus, are cold-like signs and symptoms, such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing and sinus pressure.
- Can some foods help our body handle seasonal allergies better? If yes, what are those?
Ask anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies and you will know how unsettling the inset can be.
The name says it all. Allergic rhinitis triggered by the pollens of specific seasonal plants is commonly known as “hay fever” because it is most prevalent during the haying season.
We cannot do much about the pollen in the air and / or nature’s plan for things. But if one’s body is programmed to behave in a certain manner, one cannot do much about the inherent responses too.
So what can one do to alleviate all the discomfort, pain, anger, irritation, etc of seasonal allergies?
One thing that we know is that Hay fever is caused by an allergic response to outdoor or indoor allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, or tiny flecks of skin and saliva shed by cats, dogs, and other animals with fur or feathers (pet dander). When you breathe in allergens through your nose or mouth, your body reacts by releasing a natural chemical called histamine.
Clearly, if you don’t wish to put up with annoying symptoms, you must learn to avoid triggers and find the right treatment.
Serious allergic reactions such as someone with a peanut allergy dying after eating one – are an example of an overactive immune response. The flipside is an underactive immune response, which can put you at risk for infection.
Researchers tried to stimulate immune function in trauma victims by injecting them (most of them being car crash victims, a few others being gunshots and stabbing victims) with beta-glucan, a type of fiber found in yeast. And five times fewer complications and no deaths, compared to nearly one in three deaths in the control group.
Dr Michael Greger has (in the past) spoken / written about the role of oral beta-glucans in the form of nutritional yeast to boost immune function in adults and children. Beta-glucans, he highlights are not only immunostimulatory but COULD they also carry the risk of overstimulating one’s body function n an allergic reaction – thereby increasing the inflammation and worsening the allergies?
Actually, dietary yeast – says Dr Greger – may offer the best of both worlds, possessing both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial abilities.
While on the one hand, yeast beta-glucans activate the immune system to prevent infections, they also, on the other hand, are capable of reducing inflammatory reactions.
While the placebo group had no relief or changes to report, the beta-glucan group experienced a significant drop in symptoms and symptom severity: fewer runny noses, fewer itchy eyes, and fewer sleep problems, says Dr Greger – while also showing all the paperwork of the final published study findings.
Just a single teaspoon of nutritional yeast could bring about relief to the hay fever sufferers such that their emotional well-being markers showed less tension, less depression, less anger, less fatigue, less confusion, and more vigor. Not only were their allergy symptoms far more subdued, their physical health after the dose of beta-glucans showed how – when our immune system is primed to respond quickly to invaders, while also limiting the duration of its response and collateral damage inflicted on us – it helps alleviate allergic reactions too.
Dietary yeast, such as nutritional yeast, possess both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial abilities, activating the immune system to prevent infections while also being capable of reducing inflammatory reactions.
Where to find Beta Glucan?
β-Glucans are found abundantly in bacterial and fungal cell walls and in plants, such as oat, barley, and seaweed.
Foods that will help stave off seasonal allergies:
- The use of time-tested curcumin (found abundantly in turmeric) has been the hallmark of Ayurvedic medicine and most Indian savory dishes and curries use turmeric. Popular across most Indian households for ages, this medicinal and natural ingredient has a host of benefits – including its use as an anti-inflammatory agent. So are leafy greens, berries and oily fish – foods that curtail the inflammatory triggers.
- A natural
antihistaminesupplement such as quercetin found in apples, red onions, and green and black tea, is good, Kim Pearson is a qualified nutritionist who writes in runnersworld.com. Add pineapple to your smoothies as it contains the enzyme bromelain, which is a natural remedy for swelling and inflammation of the sinuses.
- Eating sweet potatoes that contain short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, acetate and propionate help raise your T-cell count and suppress immune responses that bring about the collateral damage of overreaction by the system and unsettling responses.
- The anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties of vitamin C can help calm reactions and boost your defences against them. Find them in veggies and fruits like broccoli, kiwis, oranges and kale.
- Probiotic foods such as kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and miso also help fight hay fever.
- Your doctor may suggest some supplements that help fight seasonal allergies.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.