Hay fever is a seasonal allergy triggered
by the inhalation of pollen or, less commonly, molds. It is medically known as allergic rhinitis. But hay fever is
a misnomer. It is not caused due to hay and neither there is a fever.
Eat plenty of fatty fish and other foods
high in omega-3 fatty acids for their anti-inflammatory effect. Avoid honey and bee pollen capsules. Avoid any food
in the same plant family as sunflowers (the Compositae family). Avoid fermented foods or those with molds if fungi
spores trigger the symptoms.
Ragweed is one of the most common
offenders, but in susceptible people, tree, grass and flower pollens can also cause the sneezing, runny nose,
tearing eyes, itchiness, and other hay fever symptoms. In general, these symptoms are more irritating than serious.
This is not the case for people with asthma, however. For asthma patients, hay fever can provoke repeated,
sometimes life-threatening attacks.
Although foods are not ordinarily
associated with hay fever, people with certain types of seasonal allergies may experience symptoms after eating
particular foods. For example, plants in the sunflower or Compositae family have antigens that cross-react with
members of the Ambrosiaceae family, which includes ragweed. Thus, a person whose hay fever symptoms are triggered
by ragweed may react to ingestion of any of a broad variety of herbs and vegetables in the sunflower
Contaminants or pollens in some foods can
also trigger the onset of hay fever symptoms. This is especially true of honey, which may harbour bits of pollen,
and bee pollen capsules, a food supplement and natural remedy that is sold in health food stores.
There is no special diet that will
alleviate hay fever symptoms, although some recent reports suggest that eating fatty fish and other foods that are
high in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the inflammation that is part of an allergic reaction.
In some people, seasonal allergies are
triggered by mold spores instead of pollen. Typically, these people suffer a flare up of hay fever symptoms when it
is cool and damp. Usually, beginning in the spring, improving somewhat during the summer, and then worsening again
during the damp fall season.
Although most mold spores are outdoors,
some also grow in dark, moist indoor areas, especially in basements, shower stalls, refrigerator drip trays, air
conditioners, and garbage cans. Symptoms generally occur after inhaling the spores, but in some people eating foods
and beverages that harbour molds also provokes a flare up.
Items to be avoided:
Ø Alcoholic beverages, especially beer, wine, and other
drinks made by fermentation procedures.
Ø Breads made with lots of yeast or the sour-dough
Ø Cheeses, especially the blue cheese
Ø Dried fruits, including raisins and others that are
allowed to dry outdoors.
Ø Mushrooms of all kinds
Ø Processed meats and fish, including hot dogs, sausages,
and smoked fish.
Ø Sauerkraut and other fermented or pickled foods, including
Ø Vinegar and products made with it like salad dressings,
mayonnaise, ketchup, and pickles.