Spring has finally arrived in Melbourne, the sun is shining, skies are blue, the days are getting longer and there are buds and blossoms on the trees.
As flowers start to bloom and the bees get busy collecting nectar, the air is thick with the smell of jasmine and…..pollen!
While these signs of spring are a welcome arrival after the long dark, cold winter they are met with pure dread by people who suffer from seasonal allergies - as they signal the onset of relentless sneezing, itching, stuffy head and watery eyes. Not much fun.
Around 1 in 5 Melbournians suffer from hay fever symptoms as a result of exposure to pollens. Anti-histamine tablets and sprays effectively reduce the symptoms of allergy but what if there was a natural way to alleviate hay fever symptoms?
The solution to pollen allergy may actually lie in the very pollen itself. Studies have shown that eating locally produced honey may desensitize hay fever sufferers to local pollens.
When the bees collect nectar from the flowers in our neighbourhood, the pollens that end up in the honey are the same pollens that we are exposed to when we step out of our front door. Consuming small amounts of raw locally made honey, over time, may help to reduce sensitivity to these pollens and lessen the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
Rooftop Honey are a collective of beekeepers who provide new, safe homes for the threatened bee population on rooftops across Melbourne. With 25 hives in the Melbourne CBD and another 120 in the surrounding suburbs, Rooftop Honey are ideally placed to produce local honeys for allergy desensitization. Honey is sold in test tubes by post code, and a teaspoon of local honey, each day can help to reduce pollen allergy symptoms.
5 more ways to beat hay fever naturally
1. Anti-histamine foods. Histamines are proteins that can initiate a reaction that causes allergic symptoms including itchy eyes, scratching throat and sneezing.
Quercetin is a natural antihistamine that can be found in foods including: apples, berries, grapes, black tea & green tea.
2. Avoid high histamine foods. Some foods may cause histamines to be released in the body.
High histamine foods include: alcohol, fermented foods, citrus fruits, peanuts, processed meats, chocolate & caffeine.
3.Avoid inflammatory foods. An allergic response to environmental allergens results in allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. The resulting symptoms are caused by inflammation in the lining of the nasal sinuses.
Inflammatory foods include: refined carbohydrates, sugar, food additives, vegetable and seed oils, trans fats, alcohol & processed meats.
4. Include anti-inflammatory foods. Food high in omega 3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect which may alleviate the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Omega 3 rich foods include; walnuts, hempseeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds & oily cold water fish (mackerel, herring, salmon, anchovies).
5. Support healthy gut microbiome. As around 70% of our immune cells are found in the gastrointestinal tract, a healthy bacterial population can reduce reactivity to seasonal allergens and reduce allergic symptoms.
When trying to reduce histamine, the traditional, dietary sources of probiotics, fermented foods, may, conversely, cause an increase of histamine. In this case, healthy gut bacteria may be supported to grow and flourish by including prebiotic foods in the diet.
Prebiotic foods are found in foods including: garlic, leek, onion, asparagus, artichoke & dandelion greens.