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5 habits to help relieve spring allergies

09 May 2024

With the arrival of spring, pollen allergies have made their grand entrance, leaving many of us sniffling and sneezing. While antihistamines can help, there are also non-drug approaches to relieve your symptoms.

Is it a cold or allergies? They share similar symptoms—runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, nose or throat. The key difference is in the duration: colds last about a week, while seasonal allergies linger for a few weeks during pollen seasons. The flu can also bring high fever, headache, fatigue and body aches.

To ease your symptoms, here are some evidence-based habits you can try.

1. Rinse your sinuses 👃

Human trials found that nasal irrigation with saltwater improved symptoms of allergic rhinitis in adults and children. It was also included as part of the 2021 consensus on how to manage common sinus issues.

It works by washing away allergens and mucus, as well as reducing inflammation and swelling.

Add a nasal rinse to your daily routine. You’ll need an irrigation device and saline solution — which you can purchase as part of a kit or make at home. More info in this guide.

2. Take vitamin D ☀️

A few human trials found that supplementing with vitamin D improved nasal symptoms in patients with allergic rhinitis. Low serum vitamin D levels might also play a role in the risk of allergic disorders.

It could help by regulating immune cells and influencing the allergy-related inflammatory response.

Get vitamin D from supplements (always go for Vitamin D3 + K2), sun exposure and some foods like fatty fish (trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel).

3. Eat probiotic-rich foods 🦠

In small (funded) trials, giving people probiotics for 10–12 weeks improved their hay fever symptoms, such as runny nose and itchy eyes.

Add food sources of probiotics to your meals, such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi and sourdough bread.

4. Use ginger and turmeric 🌶

In two trials involving patients with allergic rhinitis, ginger and curcumin extracts improved nasal symptoms and quality of life.

5. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables 🥬

Promising evidence finds that compounds in fruits and vegetables may decrease nasal symptoms and improve the quality of life of allergic patients – namely apple polyphenols, tomato extract, chlorophyll and vitamins C and E.

Add to your meals: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, apples, red and green peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts and green leafy vegetables.

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