Out with the cold, in with the sun… and with it comes blossoming trees, flowers, grass & an abundance of pollen. If you suffer from hay fever or seasonal allergies, this post is for you for helping hay fever naturally!
In the past, I turned to over-the-counter allergy medicine like antihistamines, decongestants & nasal corticosteroid sprays to help with symptoms… oftentimes to no avail. We’re so used to having a “quick fix,” however real change can be made through lifestyle and dietary changes.
Looking for some top tips on holistically combatting Spring allergies? Keep reading to learn more!
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Why Do We Get Seasonal Allergies?
Allergens are foreign substances, like dust mites, pollen, and pet dander, that can cause allergic reactions, like sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy eyes or eye irritation, runny nose, watery eyes, swelling, a burning sensation etc… While some allergies are genetic, lifestyle & environmental factors significantly impact symptoms. Hay fever takes place when the immune system overreacts, creates an immune response, and releases histamines (it’s an allergic reaction to pollen).
Hay fever and pollen allergy sufferers can oftentimes have more serious reactions, like irritated mucous membranes, asthma, compromised lung function, nasal discharge, inflamed nasal passages, skin rashes, sore throat, watery discharge, or other health problems.
Does Gut Health Impact Allergies?
Our gut health and gut microbiome play a significant role in seasonal allergies. In fact, about 70% of our immune system stems from our gut! 
The Standard American Diet or SAD (pun intended) is full of inflammatory oils, excess sugar & sodium, artificial flavorings, and a long list of unnecessary toxins. In fact, 63% of America’s calories come from processed food (like packaged snacks, sodas, desserts, etc…) – this is insane.  Only 12% of calories consumed in America come from plant-based foods…. only twelve percent! 
When we eat a SAD diet, our gut microbiome struggles to keep up with the overload. As a nation, we are over-fed and undernourished, oftentimes opting for fast, processed foods instead of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, etc… It’s become increasingly clear that the healthier the gut, the fewer allergic symptoms.
This is just one reason why over 20 million American adults & 6.1 million American children struggle with hay fever every year, especially in the Spring when trees, grass, and weed pollen are at their peak. 
20 million American adults struggle with hay fever annually.
Top 20 Tips To Naturally Combat Hay Fever:
1) Invest in a quality HEPA air purifier
- Indoor air is oftentimes 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air.  Especially since Americans, on average, spend ~90% of their time indoors, it’s essential to invest in a quality air filter. 
- Close windows to prevent grass pollen from getting inside
- One of the best HEPA filters on the market: AirDoctor
2) Invest in high-quality supplements
- Some of my favorite hay fever supplements:
- Stinging Nettle (Nettle Tea), Butterbur, Spirulina (can all be found in Hilma’s Indoor/Outdoor Blend)
- Quercetin & Bromelain
- Certain homeopathic remedies for allergies and sinus health can potentially reduce allergic reactions to pollen, such as: nux vomica, arsenicum album, natrum muriaticum, allium cepa, galphimia glauca & more. Dicusss all homeopathic medicine for sneezing and running nose with your doctor or registered dietitian since some supplements can have side effects or interact with medications.
3) Incorporate healthy foods that support your gut health
- Add ginger & omega-3-rich roods, like walnuts, into your diet
- Munch on some pineapple, which is rich in the enzyme bromelain (which helps to reduce inflammation & improve digestion). 
- Eat foods rich in nutrients, like wild-caught fatty fish (salmon mackerel, sardines), fresh ginger, citrus fruits (oranges & lemons which are high in vitamin C), spicy food, & more.
- Incorporate probiotic-rich foods including live active cultures.
4) Wearing a mask may actually help!
- Since pollen is airborne, a mask can help prevent it from being inhaled. Inhaling pollen can make your nose and eyes feel worse. A recent 2020 study confirms that masks can help with allergic rhinitis symptoms! 
5) Clean produce thoroughly to remove any pollen residue
- This should be routine all year round, however, it’s especially important during peak pollen season to wash it all off! Natural plant-based foods can be covered in allergens, which could make allergies worse.
- Read more about DIY produce wash here.
6) Consume a teaspoon of local honey every morning
- It’s best to start this a couple of months prior to peak allergy season to help “educate” your immune system on the pollen. 
- Look for locally grown & unprocessed (check out your local farmers market), which can be an excellent allergy medicine (it’s commonly found in many natural remedies).
- However, keep in mind that ingesting raw honey may increase the risk of Clostridium botulinum (botulism), although this is rare amongst healthy adults. Use caution, especially if you are allergic.
- Never, ever, ever feed babies honey & take caution feeding it to young children
7) If you wear contacts, opt for your glasses instead.
- Pollen can get trapped in contacts, making eyes itchy, bloodshot, and irritated. Glasses are the way to go, especially on peak-pollen days!
8) Drink green tea or matcha
- Green tea can help reduce inflammation in the body (my favorite is Pique)
- Ginger tea & peppermint tea in hot water can also be great additions to your hay fever routine.
9) Eat more onion and garlic
- Red onions and garlic naturally contain quercetin, which is a great decongestant and anti-inflammatory. 
- Pro tip: when cooking with garlic, chop it up and leave it untouched for ~10 minutes. This can help release more allicin, which is the powerful anti-inflammatory compound found in cloves. Allicin in the garlic needs to be chewed, crushed, or sliced to be activated.
10) Take a shower before hopping in bed every night
- This is a great way to help manage pollen exposure & prevent it from traveling into bed with you. Especially after spending a day outside, it’s essential to wash it off before hitting the hay to reduce symptoms.
11) Consider acupuncture
- Acupuncture has been around for about 3000 years… and for good reason!  It’s been shown in a 2018 study to alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms and decrease reliance on anti-histamines. 
12) Take your shoes off before you go inside
- Much like showering before bed, you don’t want to track in pollen residue with your shoes! Make it a habit to take them off at the door.
13) Keep your house clean
- Dust and vacuum regularly to rid your home of pollen residue
- Change your bed sheets frequently, especially your pillowcases
14) Eat a plant-based & a low-inflammatory diet
- Many studies, including this 2008 study, show that eating a plant-based diet can help limit inflammation.  Eating mostly whole foods (vegetables, fruits) can make a huge impact on your health, in more ways than one.
- Eating an anti inflammatory diet for allergies can help you ease allergy symptoms and provide allergy relief.
- To read more about an anti-inflammatory diet: How To Eat An Anti Inflammatory Diet
15) Limit dairy products & high-histamine foods
- The body’s histamine response is bio-individual, however certain foods naturally contain more histamine than others and it can impact allergy symptoms.
- Some high-histamine foods include: yogurt, cheese, “soured” foods, vinegar-containing foods etc…
16) Use a natural saline nasal spray
- These saltwater sprays can help remove pollen from nasal passageways and linings.
- Saline sprays don’t contain medication, so it’s a more natural method than other sprays like steroids, antihistamines, or decongestants
17) Support your detox pathways
- There are many ways to support your body’s natural detoxification pathways: lymphatic drainage (rebounding, dry brushing), saunas, regular exercise etc…
- If you’re exercising outside, keep in mind when pollen is at its peak for the day.
18) Drink more water
- When our bodies are dehydrated, they can produce more histamine to help preserve the remaining water. Drink up!
19) Eat prebiotic-rich foods
- Prebiotics (different than probiotics) are the dietary fiber that helps to feed the existing gut bacteria.
- Prebiotic-rich foods: onion, soybean, asparagus, bananas, garlic, wheat, etc…
- These foods can act as a natural antihistamine!
20) Skip the alcohol
- Alcohol is high in histamine & some studies show that it can increase allergic symptoms. [14, 15] Studies show that it may also negatively impact your immune system, gut health & more, so keep it minimal! 
Natural Remedies For Allergies And Sinus Pain – Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the below FAQs to learn more about inflammation and allergic response, helping hay fever naturally, reducing symptoms, and foods to avoid in allergic rhinitis! It is nearly impossible to stop hay fever immediately and cure it, however, lifestyle changes can make a major difference.
What are seasonal allergies?
Allergens are foreign substances, like dust, pollen, pet dander, that can cause allergic reactions, like sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, watery eyes, swelling etc… While some allergies are genetic, lifestyle & environmental factors significantly impact symptoms.
What is hay fever caused by?
Hay fever is caused by foreign substances, like dust, pollen, and pet dander, that can cause allergic reactions, like sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, watery eyes, and more. Typically, Spring and summer are common times to experience hay fever because of the pollen.
How can I prevent seasonal allergies?
There are many ways to prevent seasonal allergies! Focus on your gut health by incorporating anti-inflammatory, plant-based whole foods. Invest in a high-quality air purifier and stay hydrated.
How can I get rid of seasonal allergies naturally?
There are many ways to alleviate any seasonal allergy symptoms! Focus on your gut health by incorporating anti-inflammatory, plant-based whole foods. Invest in a high-quality air purifier, stay hydrated, shower before going to bed, limit dairy, and more.
Which of these home remedies will you begin implementing?
Feeling ready to tackle any and all hay fever symptoms this season? I sure am! Don’t let the high pollen count get to you this hay fever season!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments! You can watch our web story here.
Want to read more? Check out my other articles here!
What to drink for allergies; How to use ginger for allergies; Foods to avoid with seasonal allergies; natural antihistamine for hayfever
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