The warmer temperatures and sunnier climate bring joy and positivity across our moods at the arrival of Spring. However, for many of this, this brings a whole new set of problems to our health. Namely hay fever.

Blowing nose with tissue
Sneezing: A regular habit if you’re suffering from hay fever.

The common condition known as hay fever is an allergy, also known as allergic rhinitis[1], with symptoms ranging from dry eyes, runny nose, sneezing, asthma and fatigue. These symptoms alone are enough to strip enjoyment out of the sunny days. It is estimated that around 13 million people suffer from hayfever in the UK[2] and, subsequently, has one of the highest rates of hay fever in the world. It is one of the most common allergies and can strike at any age.

Fields of oilseed rape
Increasing acres of oilseed rape are blamed for increasing hay fever sufferers and the severity of symptoms.

Causes & Treatments

The cause of such high rates of hay fever across the country has been linked to a certain number of factors including pollution, climate change, urbanisation and even as a result of smaller family numbers[3].

The south of England suffers more than Scotland due to higher temperatures and more built up areas. Shocking data from Nielsen, a global company which provides market research about consumers, shows that the allergy market is worth an estimated £100 million pounds in the UK[3]. With a market worth this amount of money, it is shocking that there aren’t more natural alternatives being offered.

Lifestyle changes can also affect the likelihood of suffering from hay fever. Stress is a huge factor in how our body can function and fight inflammation. Other factors, such as having children, suffering from other allergies and diet changes can also affect our hay fever symptoms[3].

Hayfever is typically treated with antihistamines as well as eye drops for dry eyes and inhalers. There are natural alternatives, though, which have been proven to provide relief, especially if you are suffering from mild symptoms of hayfever.

Foods to Soothe Your Symptoms

Try these well-known remedies to soothe your hay fever symptoms; all which can be found locally!

Eat Local Honey

Trying to include local honey daily in your diet throughout the year is believed to bring relief to hayfever sufferers. Honey contains locally collected pollen, so by eating local honey, you are exposing small quantities of pollen into your system without triggering any negative reactions. This could help to improve the likelihood and severity of hay fever symptoms.

Bespoke Heather Comb Honey by Chain Bridge Honey Farm is honey in its most natural form
Authentic Heather Comb Honey: a top health food

Find local honey from Northumberland Honey Co, Chain Bridge Honey Farm and Peeblesshire Honey & Bees.

Healthy Fats

Omega-3 rich foods, found in foods such as oily fish, are fantastic at fighting off and reducing inflammation in the body. Hayfever arises from inflammation.

Oily fish
Eat oily fish to boost inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids

Get a healthy boost from local oily fish such as salmon and herrings from Swallow Fish Ltd and Ross Dougal Fish Merchants. You can also find omega-3 rich nut butter, such as Hazelnut or Cashew, from The Nut Roaster.

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Consuming foods such as garlic, onions and ginger can help soothe hayfever symptoms, just like they can help with a common cold and indigestion. You can find these at your local greengrocers.

Making herbal drinks
Warm water with lemon, ginger, honey or herbs is a regenerative health tonic.

Spice it Up!

Enjoy some spicy foods to help displace some of the heavy mucous that settles in the nasal and throat passages. Try some of Ooft! Hot Sauces in your curry, fajitas, soups or as a dip and see if it helps with congestion.

Or try some Apple and Chilli juice from Laprig Valley for a sweet kick!

Apple and Chilli Juice bottles
Spice it up with Laprig Valley

Increase the Vitamin C intake

Just as you would with a cold, treat hayfever symptoms with a good dose of vitamin C. As the weather is warmer, there are plenty of options. Enjoy locally grown new season potatoes from Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes or apple juice from Laprig Valley.

Oranges
Increase your vitamin C intake if you’re suffering from hay fever symptoms

Other great veggies to include are red peppers, broccoli as well as fruits such as berries and oranges. Check out what’s on offer at local food markets and your greengrocers.

Drink Tea

Although it is recommended to limit caffeine intake, tea is a drink that is too healthy to give up! If drinking classic black tea try to avoid adding milk and add honey instead of sugar too for an extra boost.

Fresh mint leaves for tea
The cooling effects of peppermint can alleviate mucus congestion.

Top teas to drink include green tea, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, camomile tea and peppermint tea both of which refresh and hydrate us whilst thinning mucus[4]. Bari Tea has an impressive variety of loose-leaf tea available in Alnwick or you can order online.

Natural Remedies

Try to soothe your irritation with these locally found foods across Northumberland and Scottish Borders and see if you notice the difference. Do you have any remedies of your own you can share with us?

Tea accompaniment suggestions including cinnamon sticks, lemon, ginger and honey
Adding these delicious accompaniments as suggested by Mocha Mondo to herbal teas, such as cinnamon, ginger & lemon, can help you feel better.

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Disclaimer: Foodful is not medically trained. If you are suffering from bad hayfever symptoms visit your GP.