Five diet tweaks to help beat hay fever – including cutting out dairy

Hay fever: Dr Chris Steele shares advice on avoiding pollen

“Approximately 70 percent of the immune system is located within the gut,” said Barnes.

While the cells in the digestive tract “have an extremely important role in being able to absorb nutrients efficiently”, the cells also help to block out allergens.

Barnes advised hay fever sufferers to consume “fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir” to help keep the digestive tract working in good order.

She recommended taking Bio-Kult Everyday (RRP £10.48) – a multi-strain live bacteria supplement.

Barnes explained: “A review and meta-analysis looking at the role of live bacteria supplements in the treatment of hay fever concluded that those taking live bacteria supplements had a significant reduction in their hay fever symptoms.”

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Hay fever symptoms, as pointed out by the NHS, might include:

  • Frequent sneezing
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • An itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • Cough
  • The loss of your sense of smell
  • Facial pain
  • Headaches
  • Earache
  • Tiredness and fatigue.

Barnes also suggested cutting out dairy to help improve the body’s response to pollen.

She elaborated: “A recent study found a dairy-free diet was associated with a significant reduction in runny noses in adults suffering with persistent nasal mucus secretions.

“Try eliminating dairy from the diet for two to three weeks to see if it improves hay fever symptoms.”

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While people are advised to cut out dairy, they should also incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods into their diet.

A fan of omega-3 fats, Barnes advised people to eat more oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon and sardines.

Anti-inflammatory foods also include walnuts and flaxseeds, and spices such as ginger, chilli, and pepper.

Barnes said: “Try adding these spices into soups, stews, dahls and fruit and veggie smoothies.”

Antioxidants are also key as they are considered natural antihistamines, which require eating a “rainbow of different coloured vegetables and fruits”.

Barnes stated these “provide you with a range of immune-supporting nutrients such as vitamin A, C and E, zinc and selenium”.

Moreover, plant foods “provide much-needed antioxidants, such as quercetin, found in onions and apples”.

Barnes added: “A study investigating the association between antioxidant-related nutrient intake and hay fever in schoolchildren in Korea found those with a higher vitamin C intake were less likely to suffer with hay fever.”

Five dietary tweaks to improve hay fever symptoms

  1. Consume fermented foods
  2. Cut out dairy
  3. Eat anti-inflammatory foods
  4. Eat plant-based foods
  5. Keep hydrated

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