Are your sunny days getting spoilt by sneezing, a runny nose or itchy eyes? You are not alone! Hay fever now impacts between 10% and 30% of all adults and about 40% of children. An allergy is the immune system over-reacting to what should be a harmless substance such as pollen, food or house dust mite. At this time of the year hay fever, allergic rhinitis, is caused by grass and tree pollen leading to physical symptoms including headaches and tiredness.
So what can you do to improve symptoms?
Whilst many people take anti-histamine medication this doesn’t resolve the problem long-term. It is also recommended that people avoid anti-histamine meds if they have thyroid issues, high-blood pressure, heart disease, kidney or liver disease, glaucoma or if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Hippocrates said all disease begins in the gut – we now know he was right! And whilst an allergy isn’t a disease it is a dis-ease and impacts on quality of life!
Restoring a healthy balance of gut flora is the best long-term solutions to resolving histamine intolerance. Histamine is an important compound in the body but like everything else it needs to be in balance. Histamine balance is maintained by an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO), which breaks down excessive histamine. Some people, however, have a genetic snip or polymorphism that reduces the effectiveness of this enzyme, which can lead to an increase in the body burden of histamine.
How can you reduce histamine?
You may find reducing how much high histamine foods you consume helps. Try cutting back on:
• alcohol, aged cheeses, any fermented food, citrus fruits, tomatoes, aubergine, avocados, spinach, preserved meats or fish, shell-fish, anything with yeast in it or Marmite.
What should I eat?
• Go for anti-inflammatory foods and foods that will support a healthy gut micro-biome. So lots of vegetables especially onions, garlic, broccoli and other brassicas, red bell peppers, fruit such as berries (avoid strawberries), herbs, spices (especially ginger which slows down histamine production), freshly cooked meats and fish, eggs, wholegrain rice, quinoa and oats. Local raw honey may also help (but really needs to be consumed months before the onset of allergy season). Swap bread for buckwheat pancakes or oat-cakes. Unrefined salt such as sea salt or Himalayan salt.
• Foods that are high in vitamin C, quercitin (high in broccoli and leafy vegetable) and omega-3 essential fatty acids have all been shown to reduce inflammation and allergy symptoms.
What else could I try consider?
• Check your vitamin D levels – low vitamin D is associated with increased allergy risk. Vitamin D metabolism can be hampered if there is a deficiency of magnesium (intake of magnesium is too low for most because of soil depletion and high intake of processed foods) and if you have a Vit D genetic polymorphism which means that vit D isn’t absorbed as efficiently as it could be you may have higher requirements.
• Certain supplements can also be supportive such as vitamin C, bromelain, pro-biotics, vitamin B6 and B12, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc all of which play a role in histamine metabolism or degradation.
• Using a diffuser with essential oils such as eucalyptus should clear your airways. A good one can be used overnight and automatically switches off when the water is low. I do not recommend the synthetic so called ‘natural’ diffusers!
If you want to enjoy your life all year round you need to look at the root cause of your reactions and discover what are the triggers for you! By working with me, we can improve your health to support you improve your resiliance!