Spring may be sunny and glorious but for many Brits, the reality is quite different – it marks the start of hay fever season.
The sniffles, itchy eyes, blocked noses and generally feeling under the weather are all signs you’re suffering.
Instead of reaching for hay fever helpers like tablets and sprays, there’s some all-natural ways you can try to beat hay fever and those annoying symptoms that come with it.
So, what ingredients should you reach for this allergy season? Work The World, which specialises in helping medical students find placements abroad, has helped us come up with 10 of the best foods to battle the dreaded spring sniffles:
Onions are packed full of quercetin, a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, making them perfect for battling hay fever symptoms.
Try to eat them while they’re as fresh as possible, as they can lose a quarter of their quercetin content after being stored for a week or more.
2. Oily fish
Tuna, salmon and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which has been shown to reduce inflammation. In fact, studies have shown that a couple of portions a week can calm symptoms for hay fever sufferers. Plus they’re perfect for a light summer lunch or dinner.
Don’t worry if you’re veggie or vegan, as both flax and chia seeds are a fantastic source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is the plant version of omega-3. They’re also packed full of protein, so sprinkle them liberally to enjoy a wealth of incredible benefits.
Thanks again to a high quercetin content, studies have shown that people who regularly eat apples have greater protection against allergies and even asthma.
Make sure to eat the peel, as that’s where most of these amazing nutrients are stored.
Researchers have found that 500mg of vitamin C a day can help to ease allergy symptoms. One cup of raw broccoli packs about 80mg, making it an ideal step in relieving allergies. This versatile green veg is also a member of the cruciferous family, which has been proven to clear blocked-up sinuses.
It’s the super food du jour, and turmeric helps prevent the release of histamine, one of the main causes of hay fever. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, so this spectacular spice can ease the symptoms as well as fight them from the onset.
These powerful little bulbs are also great allergy fighters, as they work as decongestants, helping to ease sneezes and sniffles. If you’re brave enough, crush them, leave them to sit for 10 to 15 minutes to release the active ingredients, before eating raw. Rather you than us…!
Tomatoes are bursting with vitamin C, with studies proving they’re great for boosting the immune system, producing a natural antihistamine and building a tolerance against respiratory issues.
Indulge in these either whole or in a sauce, and you’ll also be consuming plenty of lycopene, an antioxidant compound.
Fancy a sweet treat? Pineapple happens to contain an enzyme called bromelain – this has been shown to reduce irritation in allergic diseases. So, whether it’s eaten on its own or even sprinkled on a pizza, it can help.
Another great source of vitamin C, there’s around 64mg in just one green, fuzzy fruit. For an added health boost, mix kiwi with guava, strawberries and oranges, all of which are packed full of vitamin C.