Foods that help you beat the sneeze

By
Annie Gibson
Added
14 October, 2015

Spring is such a beautiful time of the year. The sun comes out to play, the grass is green and the flowers are blooming. It is also a time when more than 3 million Australians start to experience hay fever.

Hay fever is caused by an allergic reaction, typically to environmental factors like pollen, grass and dust. The immune system registers pollen and its pals as harmful and triggers immune cells to release the protein, histamine. Histamine causes inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages along with watery eyes and a runny nose.

But before you reach for the antihistamine tablets, or nasal spray this season, here are a few diet related tips, which may help to ease symptoms.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a star vitamin, and it has been found to reduce inflammation caused by histamine. Vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and capsicum all contain higher levels of vitamin C – and less sugar – than oranges.

Quercetin

Studies have shown that the flavanol, quercetin may assist in stabilisation of the cells that release histamine in the body, reducing the inflammatory effect. Foods rich in quercetin include raw red onion, asparagus, red lettuce, sweet potato, parsley and capers (rinsed to reduce sodium content). Rebecca Seal’s roasted aubergine salad is packed with quercetin!  

Roasted aubergine salad

 

Zinc

Zinc is a trace mineral important for immune function. Deficiencies in zinc have been linked with an increased risk of allergies such as hay fever. Oysters are an excellent source of zinc; Lyndey Milan’s Oysters with pico de gallo are perfect on a warm spring evening. If oysters aren’t your thing, Ben O’Donoghue has a Thai beef salad that will give you a zinc boost from the beef.

Thai beef salad

Spring is a wonderful time of the year to focus on your health and wellness. Creating fresh and clean meals that optimise your intake of important nutrients and reduce the tendency for hay fever to flare up can help you enjoy the outdoors and get moving after a long winter. 

Oysters with pico de gallo

Annie is a budding nutritionist from Melbourne. Not only does she love all things health and wellness, she is also a foodie who believes we eat to nourish our mind, body and soul. Find Annie's recipe at  www.nourish-d.com

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