Hay fever is an allergic response to pollen found in the air during pollen season (March to November in the UK). This over reaction to pollen triggers a release of inflammation causing substances including histamines, resulting in the symptoms hay fever sufferers are sadly all too familiar with.
Anti-histamine medication works by blocking the action of histamine, reducing symptoms such as a stuffy nose and itchiness. Unfortunately, it can cause drowsiness in some people, due to the fact that histamines are needed in small amounts to help keep us alert.
Did you know, there are certain foods that contain natural anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine substances? This easy to make, delicious smoothie combines a few of these foods - here's what's included and why:
Stinging nettles, small handful - Yes, those pesky plants found in most back gardens DO have a use! Nettles have been used for centuries to treat inflammatory conditions and allergies; more recently, a few small research studies have verified its ability to reduce sneezing and itching associated with hay fever. Pick the small leaves from the top of a plant away from the roadside (wearing rubber gloves!). The heat generated from the blender blades will take the sting out of the nettles.
Half an apple - An apple a day may keep hay fever at bay... Apples contain a natural anti-histamine substance called quercetin, which is thought to prevent the release of histamine from mast cells.
Papaya (frozen) - one of the most richest sources of vitamin C, an immune boosting nutrient that has been shown to have an anti-allergy effect by decreasing the amount of histamine released into the body.
Spinach, small handful - A good source of two natural antihistamines, vitamin C and quercetin. makes spinach a great anti-allergy food to include! However, those sensitive to oxalates may wish to avoid it - add a small amount of romaine lettuce instead.
Ginger - Used for centuries to warm and boost circulation, ginger root may enhance absorption of other nutrients by increasing blood flow. It is also a fantastic natural decongestant due to its anti-inflammatory nature - great for clearing a stuffy nose!
Chia seeds - These tiny powerhouses are chock-full of nutrients, including highly anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats which can help improve allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation in the mucous membranes.
Half a lemon - Citrus fruits, especially the white pith, contain a phytonutrient called hesperidin, which has been shown to have an antihistamine effect. Lemons are also a good source of vitamin C and quercetin.
Pineapple (frozen) - The core contains one of the most anti-inflammatory enzymes, bromelain, which is thought to enhance the absorption of quercetin into the bloodstream.
Green tea - Catechins in tea have demonstrated an ability to inhibit the function of the enzyme that converts histadine to histamine, resulting in a reduction of allergy symptoms. The high vitamin C content of this smoothie makes the catechins more readily absorbed by the body. Steep the leaves for five minutes and allow to cool, before topping up the blender jug to the fill line.
I'd love to hear what you think of this smoothie; post your comments below! Do you have any natural tips for allergy sufferers? Please share!
This article is written for entertainment and is not a substitute for medical advice. The reader accepts full responsibility should they wish to test this recipe. Those on medication should consult their physician as some medications interact with stinging nettle. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consumption of stinging nettle.
Complementary therapist and natural health expert. On a mission to sprinkle health and wellness wherever I go...