Understanding the Relationship Between Your Gut and Seasonal Allergies - Women's Health

Understanding the Relationship Between Your Gut and Seasonal Allergies

Yep, they're connected. Here's how.

by | Oct 6, 2021

For the 4.6 million Aussies out there, who annually experience allergic rhinitis, the start of Spring triggers irritating symptoms like sneezing, sniffles, and watery eyes. While many hay fever sufferers turn to antihistamines for some reprieve, in some cases, making small changes in your diet can also help to soothe symptoms.

Understanding the relationship between your gut and seasonal allergies

Many Aussies aren’t aware of the connection between the gut and seasonal allergies, or even that approximately 70 per cent of our immune system resides in the gut.

Our digestive system plays a crucial role in supporting our immunity and works in conjunction with our respiratory system to fend off external irritants like pollen or other allergens. Allergens like these can cause inflammation within the body which can further manifest into hay fever symptoms that we’re all familiar with, like sneezing, nasal congestion or itchy/watery eyes.

As the gut microbiome is closely linked to regulating our immune system, ensuring we maintain our gut health is essential. If there is a disturbance in the gut or an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria within the gut ecology it is highly likely that our immune response will be compromised. The good bacteria in the gut help to modulate immune response so not having enough can lead to hypersensitivities toward environmental allergens or even food intolerances.

How your diet can have an impact on seasonal allergies

Studies suggest that consuming a diet full of gut-friendly foods that are also rich with naturally occurring antihistamines can assist in quelling allergy symptoms. As these foods tend to be rich in fibre which help good bacteria in the gut to grow, they may also help mitigate the risk of developing allergies. Making small diet changes such as this can support your immune system and subsequently reduce inflammation within the body, potentially offering you some relief from pesky hay fever symptoms this Spring.

Top 5 foods to try if you’re suffering from seasonal allergies 

If you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, here is a list of the top 5 foods to try. While these foods are by no means meant to replace any medical treatment or any other management strategies for seasonal allergies, they can be added to one’s diet to help reduce inflammation and allergic response:

Red Apples

Red Apples are the perfect food to incorporate into your diet as they help to combat seasonal allergies as they contain quercetin. Quercetin inhibits the production and release of histamine and other allergic and inflammatory substances. Red Apples also contain vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient that helps to support your immune system.

Pineapple

This sweet and sour fruit can assist in managing your allergies as it is high in the anti-inflammatory enzyme, Bromelain. Studies of allergic airway disease in animals have shown that this particular enzyme may hold properties that reduce allergic reactions and sensitivities.

High-fibre foods

There is evidence that dietary fibres can also help to reduce allergic responses and the likelihood of developing allergies. High-fibre foods such as legumes and vegetables; and cereals such as All-Bran or Guardian with psyllium husk can help good gut bacteria to thrive and ferment the fibre to create short-chain fatty acids. These acids are involved in supporting the immune response and may help you to reduce the likelihood of developing seasonal allergies.

Ginger

Ginger is considered a great natural antihistamine. It contains properties that help to soothe the irritation that typically accompanies hay fever. The root also has a variety of uses and can be added to your diet in many ways such as stir-fry, baked goods or even tea.

Salmon

Including Salmon in your diet may be beneficial to bolstering your immune system as the fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 has considerable anti-inflammatory properties with studies showing that fatty acids can help improve asthma that may occur as a result of allergies and lessen your overall risk of developing seasonal allergies.

 

Geneticist and Nutritionist, Dr Denise Furness is a pioneer in the field of nutrigenomics and personalised health with over 15 years’ experience. 

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