Something in the air
There has been something in the air for the last few weeks and I think it’s something other than love… Sneezing, itchy eyes and running noses generally mean one thing: that hay fever time of year. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, and affects about 20% of the population. So what happens when we have an allergic response and how can the foods we eat help to calm down this reaction?
If you are allergic to pollen, the body feels under attack, and releases certain chemicals, namely histamine, into the blood. Histamine is extremely inflammatory, causing pain, swelling and the sneezing and itching associated with hay fever. So when people come into my clinic with these symptoms, I design a nutrition programme for them to counter act this.
Vitamin C is particularly useful with hay fever sufferers, as it helps to break down and regulates the levels of histamine in the blood. Foods rich in Vitamin C are generally fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly peppers, berries and parsley, and so I ensure that people include as much of these into their diet as possible.
Quercetin (a powerful antioxidant) is also useful as it prevents histamine from being released in the body, so its potential damage is limited. Foods rich in quercetin include apples, berries, red grapes and red onions.
In addition, increasing natural anti-inflammatory foods such as oily fish and flaxseeds can also help to reduce down inflammation and ease the symptoms. The stir fry below boosts the body’s ability to handle all that pollen in the air.
This stir fry is super easy and I’ve sprinkled some cashews to serve.
- Hay fever busting vegetable stir fry
- Serves 2
- 1 red pepper - sliced
- 1 red onion – thinly sliced
- 2 florets of broccoli – cut into bite size pieces
- 1 clove of garlic - grated
- 1 inch of root ginger – grates
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Sea salt and pepper
- Serves 2
- Add a little water to a frying pan and turn the heat onto medium.
- Add the sliced onions and sauté for about 5 minutes until soft.
- Add the grated garlic and ginger and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the broccoli and pepper and stir well.
- Cook for a few minutes and at the last minute, add the lemon juice and salt and pepper.
- Stir well and serve straight away,
- Eat with: 2 pieces of grilled salmon or chicken