I have had hayfever for as long as I can remember, caused by certain plants and pollen. In no way is it life threatening, but it’s a miserable thing when your eyes are itchy and watering and you can’t walk away from the tissue box for even five minutes. Boyfriends are off the hook buying me flowers as I seem to be allergic to a lot of them. I can’t even be in the same room as a lily. The smell of freshly mowed grass is literally my nightmare.
So what is hayfever and why does it suck? When your highly sensitive immune system reacts to pollen, dust or other irritant thinking it is a dangerous invasion, it releases histamine. This which causes inflammation of the nasal passages, watery eyes and a heap of sneezing to flush itself out. I’ve tried most brands of anti-histamines, but even the non-drowsy ones leave me feeling groggy and muddle-headed so I try to avoid them.
Partly out of interest and mostly from desperation I did some research into the fruits and vegetables with nutritional properties that could help the symptoms of hayfever and inflammation, which led to me turning them into a delicious smoothie. Of course I’m not a doctor and I’m not qualified to give any health advice but I believe in trying a natural remedy where ever possible, and if you can help what ails you with food, then I’m all for that. Even if you don’t suffer from hayfever, this smoothie is a delicious start to your day that will give your immune system a boost as well.
We know that vitamin C is great for our immune systems, but it’s also a natural-anti histamine with anti-inflammatory properties. Kiwi fruit (yellow kiwi especially) is particularly high in Vitamin C, but other great sources include papaya, mango, oranges and other citrus fruits.
Turmeric is my favourite superfood right now for it’s amazing healing qualities that are too numerous to list. I could write a whole post about it. It has especially powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which can help to decrease your nasal congestion. Chamomile tea also has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant effects – all good things!
Histamine fighting foods will also greatly help to reduce the symptoms of hayfever. Some incredibly powerful foods include apples, pineapple, chamomile, ginger, turmeric, and peaches – all of which are delicious too!
Found in lots of orange coloured fruits like such as papaya, mango, apricots, as well as vegetables like carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin and leafy greens. Vitamin A helps to support healthy immune function and also does it’s part to reduce inflammation in the respiratory system.
Instead of milk or yoghurt that can exacerbate mucus production (bleh!) try using a dairy-free liquid such as almond or coconut milk, or I like to use chamomile tea for it’s other great benefits listed above.
I haven’t tested this personally but it has been said that honey produced locally to where you live that contains small doses of the same pollens you react to can help to de-sensitise your immune system to their effects.
So taking this information, I made a delicious smoothie that really did help my hayfever. I’ve been drinking this smoothie (or some incarnation thereof – depending on what ingredients I have in the fridge) most days and have noticed my symptoms start to improve. A huge relief so I can get on with my day! See below for the recipe but feel free to change it up to use any or all of these anti-hayfever ingredients.
- Half papaya, seeds and skin removed
- 2 thick slices of fresh pineapple, skin removed
- Half yellow or green kiwi fruit
- Small piece ginger
- Small piece fresh turmeric (or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Chamomile tea, brewed and cooled
Cut the papaya, pineapple and kiwi fruit into even sized pieces, about 3cm. Place everything into a blender. The amount of chamomile tea you add will depend on how thick you want your smoothie to be. Start with 1 cup and add a little more if you like. Blend until well combined and serve immediately.