Hayfever may be triggered by allergies, but it can be helped by getting the right nutrients in your diet.
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 anti-histamines and anti- inflammatory 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 con- firmed 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 Dr Libby is a a nutritional biochemist, best-selling author and speaker. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.