If you suffer in allergy season, then you know what is coming.

With a little forward thinking, the sneezing, irritated eyes and runny nose you suffer come September can, thankfully, be reduced using natural medicine as effective help for hayfever prevention. 

Naturopath Peter Balogh shares the benefits of preparing yourself for Spring now with 5 tips to boost your immune system and improve resistance to allergy triggers. 

Hayfever, or allergic rhinitis, is a sign that the immune system is overreacting to a substance, such as pollen, along with dust, mould and pet dander (tiny flakes of dried saliva, skin and hair). A series of responses are triggered in the body, including the release of histamine which causes swelling and inflammation of the respiratory passages and excessive mucus production. 

As a general rule, your immune system does a great job of defending your body against the unwelcome bacteria and viruses which can cause allergic discomfort. However, a weakened immune system may not repel invading organisms and germs efficiently, which makes the histamine response more likely. 

By making these small changes to your daily routine, you can ensure that your immune system is operating optimally. This is important not just for reducing your risk of coming down with a cold or flu this season, but for improving your overall health year-round, particularly as we head toward the dreaded Hay-fever and Allergy season! 

  1. Keep your gut in tip-top shape.

Researchers say that taking probiotics daily before and after the hay-fever season can help boost good bacteria in your intestinal tract and in turn boost your immune health. In clinical trials, hay-fever sufferers taking a combination if Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifiobacterium lactis had a reduced inflammatory response and symptoms of blocked and runny nose were reduced. Take a probiotic supplement daily and increase your intake of Prebiotic foods which are high in special types of fibre that support digestive health by feeding the friendly bacteria in the gut, which in turn boosts your immune system.

Chicory root, dandelion greens, barley, oats, apples, flaxseed, onions, Jerusalem artichoke, leeks and asparagus are all good examples of prebiotic foods; or, take a handy supplement like KFibre, a natural, raw blend of soluble and insoluble prebiotic fibres, antioxidants and phytonutrients for gut microbiome and immune support. Kfibre is tasteless and really easy to add into your existing diet. 

  1. Pick a herb

  • Garlic acts to prevent allergic reactions by boosting the body's natural immune system and is also a great decongestant and anti-inflammatory to reduce mild hay fever symptoms.
  • Horseradish is traditionally used in Western herbal medicine as a decongestant to relieve nasal congestion.
  • Nettle is a natural antihistamine, research shows it can also inhibit several of the inflammatory events that cause the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Research has pinpointed the chemical pathways with which nettle interferes to reduce these symptoms.
  • Baical skullcap, traditionally used in Chinese medicine to clear lung heat and respiratory tract mucous.
  • Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) is a useful treatment for reducing the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections and allergic reactions; it also improves the body’s capacity to cope with stress.
  • Bupleurum (Bupleurum chinense) has been used since ancient times to treat respiratory problems and strengthen liver function.
  • Eyebright contains flavonoids, including luteolin and quercetin, which have antihistamine properties. 
  1. Add nutritional insurance

The chemical histamine triggers the allergic response. Vitamin C has a natural antihistamine effect in the body and there is some evidence that it can help control hay-fever symptoms. Quercetin, the pigment (a bioflavonoid) that puts the green in green tea, is another useful natural agent for the treatment of hay-fever, because it has the ability to reduce the release of histamine from mast cells. 

  1. Go Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids help to counter inflammatory responses in the body, including those triggered by hay-fever. Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, are rich sources of these fats. Don’t like fish? Take a supplement that provides 1000 mg combined EPA/DHA (eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids) a day.

5. Adopt a Low Histamine Diet

If histamine intolerance is properly diagnosed, underlying issues addressed, and the diet followed, allergy season can be a breeze. Initially the dietary changes can be a little restrictive, however within a short amount of time you will see the benefits with improved overall well-being and allergy resistance and will be able to add more variety back into your diet. It’s general place to start, and everyone’s tolerance is different. You’ll see that this diet emphasizes fresh, whole foods, which is a roadmap to better health every time!

Sample of Low Histamine Foods

  • Fruit: Blueberries, apricots, cranberries, apples, mango, peaches.
  • Vegetables: Onion, sweet potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, squash, cucumbers, beets, potatoes, corn
  • Eggs: Eggs are safe in small amounts. The whites may release histamine. Yolks are safe.
  • Meats: Freshly cooked meat and poultry. Fish that is fresh or frozen
  • Grains: Rice, oats
  • Flavour: Fresh and dried herbs, salt.
  • Drinks: Water, herbal tea, fruit juice (avoiding citrus). 

What Foods Are High Histamine And Most Problematic?

  • Fruit: Citrus fruits, strawberries, bananas, pineapple, pears.
  • Vegetables: Eggplant, avocado, tomatoes, olives, beans.
  • Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, processed cheese.
  • Protein: Canned, smoked, dried meats/fish. Tuna, mackerel, anchovies, shellfish. Sausage, lunchmeat, liver. 
  • Grains: Wheat
  • Flavor: Vinegar, soy sauce, hot spices.
  • Fermented Foods: Beer, Wine, Pickled foods, Kombucha,Sauerkraut, Kimchi
  • Drinks: Coffee, alcohol, black tea, orange juice, lemon water 

A Sample Menu

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with cooked apples and almond milk
  • Snack: Peach and almond milk smoothie
  • Lunch: Chicken and vegetable soup with wild rice
  • Dinner: Grilled fish with quinoa and asparagus
  • Dessert: Blueberry chia pudding 

If you suspect that histamine intolerance is holding you back from enjoying our beautiful Spring weather, book a Naturopathic consultation with Pete to confirm your suspicions and you'll be supported as you work through the Histamine elimination diet together. Let’s get you set up for Spring with a robust resistance to allergens.

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