Fight hayfever with your diet

Hayfever may be trig­gered by al­ler­gies, but it can be helped by get­ting the right nu­tri­ents in your diet.

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Ques­tion: I suf­fer from bad hayfever and want to know if there are any spe­cial foods or vi­ta­mins I would do well to in­clude in my daily diet. Thanks, Joyce. Hi Joyce, hayfever can be a real has­sle! Hayfever can be caused by re­ac­tions to foods or sub­stances we in­hale, typ­i­cally pollen, grass, dan­der, dust and other en­vi­ron­men­tal el­e­ments. A type of im­mune cell called a mast cell then re­leases his­tamine. His­tamine trig­gers a cas­cade of in­flam­ma­tion, the symp­toms of which can in­clude sneez­ing, a blocked or runny nose, ir­ri­ta­tion in the throat and ex­cess mu­cous pro­duc­tion.

The key to re­duc­ing hayfever symp­toms is to firstly avoid the prob­lem­atic sub­stance as best you can. You can also use nu­tri­ents that are nat­u­ral an­ti­his­tamines and an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory agents. One of the best of these is vi­ta­min C.

Stud­ies show that vi­ta­min C with bioflavonoids can re­duce the in­flam­ma­tion caused by his­tamine. Vi­ta­min C and bioflavonoids can be found in cit­rus fruits, ki­wifruit, broc­coli and cap­sicum. You may also like to sup­ple­ment with vi­ta­min C and bioflavonoids.

The rec­om­mended dose to re­duce the ef­fects of his­tamine is 2g of vi­ta­min C and 1500mg of bioflavonoids.

If pos­si­ble take half the dose in the morn­ing and the other half at night-time.

Quercetin is a flavonol found in sweet potato, broc­coli, green tea, and wa­ter­cress.

Re­search has es­tab­lished quercetin’s abil­ity to re­duce the im­mune sys­tem’s re­ac­tion to his­tamine. A ther­a­peu­tic dose of quercetin is 600mg three times daily to re­duce his­tamine and in­flam­ma­tion.

Zinc and vi­ta­min A are also im­por­tant nu­tri­ents to care for mu­cous mem­branes. These two nu­tri­ents sta­bilise the mem­brane struc­ture so that it be­comes less re­ac­tive to his­tamine, re­duc­ing ir­ri­ta­tion and mu­cous pro­duc­tion.

Zinc is found in oys­ters, beef, lamb and seeds, such as pump­kin and sun­flower. Vi­ta­min A (and beta-carotene) rich foods in­clude liver, sweet potato, car­rots, dark leafy greens, and apri­cots. Try to in­clude some of these foods each day. Ques­tion: My son is six years old and he is a very fussy eater. He re­fuses to eat meat of any kind and potato is the only veg­etable he will touch. He is very pale as well. Could he be iron de­fi­cient and if so, how do I help him if he won’t eat meat or most other foods that con­tain any good­ness? Thanks from his very wor­ried mum. Hi Wor­ried Mum, With the symp­toms you have pro­vided it is pos­si­ble that your son could be iron de­fi­cient. This is best con­firmed by a blood test done by your GP.

If he is re­fus­ing meat and veg­eta­bles he will only be get­ting very small amounts of iron – if any – from other foods. Iron plays a crit­i­cal role in main­tain­ing a healthy ap­petite so low iron could be the cause of his dis­in­ter­est in food. Zinc may also be de­fi­cient in his diet, as it is found (al­most) solely in oys­ters, beef, lamb and seeds. Low lev­els of zinc can al­ter the taste, tex­ture and smell of food, so this can also have an ef­fect on how much and what kinds of food your son wants to eat.

Con­tinue to of­fer him foods rich in zinc and iron. Ini­tially, try of­fer­ing him foods that don’t re­quire him to cut or chew very much. Bolog­nese made with beef or lamb mince is easy to eat and is rich in iron and zinc. Avoid giv­ing your son iron rich foods at the same meal as dairy prod­ucts, as cal­cium re­duces the ab­sorp­tion of iron.

Sup­ple­ment­ing iron and zinc can be crit­i­cal in re­cov­er­ing a child’s iron sta­tus. Liq­uid sup­ple­ments are of­ten best for chil­dren.

His iron needs to be tested be­fore sup­ple­ment­ing how­ever, and the sup­ple­mented dose needs to be pre­scribed by an ex­pe­ri­enced health pro­fes­sional.

Have hayfever? It may be helped by get­ting the right nu­tri­ents in your diet.

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