Spring has sprung and so has hay fever...
As it does, Spring has gone ahead and sprung. For a blissful 5 minutes I was stoked to see the end of Winter… but by minute number 6 it was time to start googling Neti Pots because with Spring comes hay fever and ermagerd here we go again.
For anyone else who suffers like me and doesn’t necessarily want to rely on daily antihistamines and medicated nasal sprays (which, don’t panic, can make things worse in the long run) it’s great to keep a few natural wellness items within arm’s reach. Not sure what those may be? We’ll then. I’ll just go ahead and leave this here:
Jen’s top 5 natural tools for hay fever:
- Probiotics: I can sense that you may not be surprised by this one considering where you’re reading this but hear me out. There are MOUNTAINS of evidence-based gems to be found from reputable sources like this one which put probiotics on the front line in this great, annual battle. Probiotics may help your body’s immune system to respond more appropriately to those over-reactive situations like hay fever so a daily dose of something broad spectrum (since we still don’t know the half how these clever bacteria do what they do) is a good way of covering all your bases.
- Enzyme rich foods: If the idea of living in a bubble all Spring appeals to you, it is definitely time to load up on enzyme rich foods. How does this help? Not only can enzymes break down your food (and a healthy digestive system is strongly linked to healthy immunity) these clever little dudes will also help to break down mucous. So, if you’re pretty sure your face shape has changed to accommodate the disastrously high booger content you’re packing, words like bromelain (I’m looking at you, pineapple) and papain (get around me, paw paw) will be music to your, swollen, clogged and/or itchy, ears. If you want to read more about the benefits of enzyme in sinusitis, you can find a study here.
- Bee pollen: this little treasure is nature’s antihistamine. It is evidence based as per articles such as this one here as an official method of reducing hay fever and for best results should be taken daily, increasing from a very small dose to around a teaspoon for several weeks before Spring kicks in. It also tastes pretty good and makes for a fancy little smoothie sprinkle, FYI.
- Turmeric/Ginger/Matcha: repeat after me, ‘T+G+M are the trifecta of anti-inflammatories’. Individually each of these superfoods may be helpful in the fight against hay fever but by their powers combined the benefits are enhanced. They may not have a majestic green mullet like Captain Planet* but let’s take a moment to appreciate the symbiotic team work anyway. Keeping organic, powdered versions of these in your cupboard at all times to sprinkle atop meals is a great way of getting the benefits in an easy as way.
- Omega 3’s: Allergy season is a time to include Omega 3’s in your diet… and often. This is due to their party ruining role in the inflammatory cascade: they basically come in, change the music to the Enya and burn a bunch of essential oils until all of those tools in the Inflammatory Cascade (which is a terrible name for a gang, BTW) get the hint that their party is officially over and leave. There is plenty of research out showing regular omega 3 intake will reduce inflammation across the board, so it’s not hard to see why Puffy McPuff-Face over here may be keen on using them in between sneezing her head off. You can do this at home by eating plenty of seafood, smashing those little chia seeds on the daily or delving into the goodness that is sea vegetables.
And that’s the lot! Extra credit for staying hydrated to help thin down all that mucous you’re making and bonus points if you already knew what a Neti Pot was (If not, I don’t blame you. I was initially sceptical of pouring home-made ocean into my nose each day too, but if you have hay fever you’ll probably try anything. It’s this.)
*Captain Planet was an environmentalist cartoon back in the 90’s in which a posse of largely unsupervised children were given magical skills by Mother Earth. These were already individually cool elemental powers like wind or fire which, when combined, could summon a blue man in nothing but a speedo and a crop top who helped them thwart bad guys. As an adult, I see major plot holes, but at the time it all seemed fair and I may or may not still remember the entire theme song. #neverforget