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Allergic to Spring?

Lynne Brown
BSc Hons, HDE, Dip Clin Nutr

Spring has arrived and what a wonderful time of year this is. Well not if you’re one of those unfortunate people who suffer from hayfever as this is hayfever season. In fact, if you suffer from any allergy-linked problems such as eczema, asthma, dermatitis, itchy eyes, chronic nasal congestion or catarrh you probably find your symptoms are worse at this time of the year.

Common allergens

The three most common allergy-provoking substances are pollen, wheat and milk. It is interesting to note that all these substances are originally grass products. Some people report remarkable relief by avoiding wheat and dairy products during the hayfever season. Dairy foods are the most common food allergen and can certainly make mucus and sinus problems much worse.

Not all bad news

The good news is that there are a number of substances that can reduce your allergic potential which you can either eat or supplement. What’s more, it’s also possible to reduce your allergic potential so you’re less likely to have these symptoms in the first place, reduce their severity if you do have them and can also help when you have an ‘attack’.

Nature’s  Anti-Histamine

Vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine making it the most important anti-allergy vitamin, so give your intake a boost in hayfever season. Vitamin C is a powerful promoter of a strong immune system, immediately calms down allergic reactions and is also anti-inflammatory. Blood levels of vitamin C have been shown to be low in people with asthma. It’s really recommended for everyone at an absolute minimum of 1,000mg (1g) a day whether you have allergies or not. If you are suffering from allergic symptoms, you need to take 3 g per day in divided doses.  Remember to take the buffered form of vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Also eat more vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits, berries, peppers and broccoli.


Quercetin, a plant bioflavonoid naturally found in fruits and vegetables, is also an excellent hayfever remedy. It acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent and stabilises mast cells in allergy sufferers. Mast cells become unstable during an allergic reaction and release large quantities of histamine, inflammatory prostaglandins, cytokines, leukotrienes and other chemical culprits that cause hayfever symptoms. The best vegetable sources of quercetin are red onions, spinach, carrots and lettuce. The best fruits are apples and berries, especially cranberries and blueberries, but for best effect, quercetin should also be supplemented – ideally in combination with Vitamin C and bromelain, the enzyme found in pineapple.


MSM, which is a highly bioavailable form of sulphur, may also help you. This naturally-occurring organic form of sulphur, has been found to have remarkable health benefits, promoting better hair, nails and skin, allergy relief and pain control. MSM helps the body build and repair, as well as calming down inflammation. If you are prone to allergic or inflammatory health problems such as hayfever, 1-2 grams of MSM a day may provide substantial relief. It may take a week or two to work, and be prepared for possible detox symptoms for a couple of days as sulphur helps the body detoxify and repair old injuries.


Make your own nasal spray by dissolving a pinch of coarse salt and half a teaspoon of xylitol in just enough warm water for it to dissolve. Spray this into each nostril three times a day to help keep nasal passages clear and to kill bacteria. Unlike prescription remedies, this homemade, non-habit-forming nasal spray will not damage tissues or result in antibiotic resistance.

Allergy diet

In conclusion, if you’re suffering from hayfever (or any other allergy symptoms for that matter):

  • Try cutting right back on anything that contains cow’s milk,  gluten grains (ie wheat, rye, barley) or  yeast.
  • Eat lots of quercetin-rich fruits and vegetables– 6 servings a day, preferably raw. Choose local, organic produce. Local because there will be less depletion of antioxidant nutrients and organic to avoid pesticide residue which itself is an allergen.
  • Keep alcohol and caffeine to a minimum as they promote inflammation.
  • Get tested for allergies so that you know if there are any other foods you need to avoid.
  • Sort out any digestive problems. Disruption in the gut enhances allergic potential. Take digestive enzymes and probiotics.
  • Drink 2 litres of pure, distilled water a day

Disclaimer: All information here is for educational purposes only and is not meant to cure, heal, diagnose nor treat. This information must not be used as a replacement for medical advice, nor can the writer take any responsibility for anyone using the information instead of consulting a healthcare professional.  All serious disease needs a physician.

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