Wednesday, 9th May 2012
Streaming Eyes? Runny Nose? Itchy Throat?
How to keep the misery of hay fever at bay…
HAY FEVER is estimated to affect between 15 to 20 per cent of the Irish population. Grass pollen is the biggest trigger, which is why people tend to suffer mainly during the spring and summer months when grasses and flowers come into bloom. Typically the pollen season runs from late spring to early summer although some weeds pollinate into early autumn.
Why the streaming eyes, runny nose and itchy throat? This is an exaggerated immune response and your body's way of defending itself against pollen which it perceives as a threat. To help keep the invading particles at bay it releases histamine and other chemicals but goes a little overboard and the symptoms we recognise as allergy and hay fever are the end result.
The bioflavonoid quercetin is thought to help counter this allergic response and is often used for its anti-histamine effect. Found in red wine, grapefruit, onions, apples and black tea, quercetin helps to inhibit the production and release of histamine and other allergic and inflammatory mediators from the body's mast cells. You'd be hard pushed to obtain the amount needed from food alone and so a supplement is usually recommended.
In addition to quercetin, there's the digestive enzyme bromelain. If you haven't heard of bromelain you will certainly recognise its fruit source. Found in pineapple juice and the stem of pineapple plants, bromelain has been found to reduce inflammation and in a study carried out on patients with sinusitis (inflammation of the nasal passages), help to relieve difficulty in breathing. Again a supplement is usually recommended.
Vitamin C is also recognised for having an anti-histamine effect. Although most animals can make their own supply we humans have lost the ability to do this, which means we need to source it from the foods we eat. Most of us think orange juice when we think of food sources but certain vegetables, including peppers, kale, broccoli and watercress, are even richer sources. The body can't actually absorb much more than 60mg of vitamin C at one time, so lower doses several times a day are usually more effective than one large dose.
For further information contact Frances and Barry Coffey at Full of Beans on 051 843653.
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