Allergens get extremely difficult to avoid during the summer months with pollen everywhere. Most doctors would give you antihistamines to help relieve symptoms but these can often leave you feeling drowsy. A natural alternative is Vitamin C which can help to relieve symptoms.
An estimated 21 million adults in the UK suffer from at least one allergy, with numbers continuing to rise year on year! Allergies are caused by an exaggerated immune response to substances that aren’t actually harmful to the body such as pollen, mould and dust. Both genetic and environmental factors play a role in this over sensitive immune response that causes itching, swelling skin irritation/rashes, coughing, runny noses and muscle spasms.
Avoiding the allergen itself is the best way to avoid symptoms however this can be incredibly difficult if the allergen is something like dust or pollen which you are inevitably going to come across in your daily life. If you go and visit your doctor, they will probably prescribe you an antihistamine tablet (these can also be purchased over the counter). They can be taken as tablets, in a liquid form, a nasal spray, or eye drops depending on the allergy and associated symptoms.
Antihistamines work by blocking histamine, a substance which is released by the immune system cells, which then attaches to the receptors in blood vessels, causing them to enlarge. Histamine also binds to other receptors causing other symptoms such as redness, swelling and itching. By blocking histamine and keeping it from binding to receptors, antihistamines prevent these symptoms.
While antihistamines can be effective at treating the symptoms of mild and seasonal allergies in particular, there are a number of potential side effects or issues associated with taking them. They can cause you to feel drowsy and cloud the thinking, but more significantly they do not stop the problem from happening in the first place, they just mask the symptoms.
There is however, a natural alternative: eating your antihistamines!
So what are these Superfoods?
Well, luckily, most of these foods are available in abundance at your local supermarket or greengrocers. For a change, East meets West on this topic, with both traditional western medicine and alternative health practitioners agreeing that nature’s top edible antihistamines are found in foods containing Vitamin C, and quercetin (a powerful flavonoid, known as called bioflavonoid). Additionally, there is much evidence that eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids reduces allergy symptoms.