Hay Fever

Hay Fever and Histamine

Hay fever is known to medical professionals as “allergic rhinitis”. Despite its name, it’s not really caused by hay. The term was invented in the 1800s when people believed the symptoms were cause by the smell of hay that had been freshly cut.

Hay fever is caused by the body’s allergic response to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, fungus spores, animal dander or industrial pollutants. These allergens can float, unseen, through the air indoors or outdoors.  When you breathe air that contains these particles, your nose, eyes, throat and sinuses can become swollen, irritated and inflamed. Hay fever symptoms can include sneezing, a runny, itchy nose, and watery, itchy eyes.

Allergens such as those mentioned above don’t affect most people. They can breathe pollen, mites, mold spores etc. without experiencing any reaction. People with histamine intolerance (HIT) however, do react. And the reaction can make life a misery for them. Their immune systems kick into overdrive and release a surge of biochemicals, including histamine.  One aspect of histamine’s job is to produce inflammation and swelling. Many people resort to swallowing antihistamine pills or using antihistamine nasal sprays to subdue their symptoms. These can be helpful in the short term but over the long term they can have a rebound effect. Besides, who wants to be dependent on pills and drugs? It’s far better for your health to address histamine intolerance through diet

Hay fever can be sorted into two groups:

  • Seasonal Hay fever. This is triggered by seasonally-occurring factors outside the home, such as plant pollen and fungal/mold spores. Such allergens are most likely to be wafting about in the air during spring, summer and the first weeks of fall.
  • Perennial Hay fever. This can occur all year round because it’s triggered by allergens that hang about all year long, especially inside your home. They can include dust mites, mold and pet dander.

How to reduce potential allergens.

  • Seasonal Hay fever. When you’re at home, keep your doors and windows closed to prevent allergens from blowing in. Remain indoors during times when the pollen count is high. In some countries, local governments post pollen forecasts on the internet. Install filtered air-conditioning in your home and car. Avoid using fans or vents that suck air into your home from outdoors.
  • Perennial Hay fever. To reduce dust mites, air your bedding and vacuum your carpets.  You might consider replacing carpets with polished floorboards and mats that are easily cleaned. To reduce mold, check your bathroom and kitchen, and anywhere else moisture could encourage mold’s growth. Use specialized mold cleaners.  To reduce the effects of pet dander, brush your pets outdoors while wearing a face mask, and bathe them weekly. Make sure your air-con system has good quality filters installed.

The Strictly Low Histamine Diet.

Most importantly, reduce your body’s histamine “bucket level” by following a strictly low histamine diet. It’s not a lifelong diet, and it can be followed until your histamine levels are low enough to make your symptoms disappear without drugs.

 

 

 

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Low Histamine Christmas Pudding

Recipe of the month: DECEMBER
Low Histamine Christmas Pudding

Low Histamine Christmas Pudding – without dried fruit.

It’s impossible to make a traditional Christmas pudding when you’re avoiding dried fruits. You can, nonetheless, ‘have your cake and eat it’.
You need not be deprived of pudding just because you are on a Strictly Low Histamine diet. Make this delicious steamed golden syrup pudding, specially modified for people with HIT. The original version was a great favourite with my own mother and grandmother.

Ingredients

4 oz. (110g or 1/2 cup) sugar
2 free-range, pastured eggs
4 oz. (110g  or 1/2 cup) butter or palm-oil-free vegetable shortening, melted
4 oz. (110g  or 1 cup) all-purpose plain gluten-free flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1.5 oz. (40ml)  oat milk, brown rice milk or dairy milk
½ teaspoon natural, alcohol-free, oil-based vanilla extract
5 oz. (140g) golden syrup
rice bran oil spray or other vegetable oil spray

Equipment

Electric mixer with bowl
Another bowl
A sieve
A spatula
A steamed-pudding tin/mold, with a lid that can be fastened on securely
A large cooking pot with a lid
A wire rack that fits in the bottom of the cooking pot

Instructions

  • Sift together into a bowl the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Crack the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer, add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and creamy.
  • Pour in the milk and butter and continue beating until they are well blended.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a spatula, fold in the vanilla essence and the sifted dry ingredients from the other bowl, to make a batter.
  • Spray the inside of the pudding tin with oil and pour in the golden syrup.
  • Pour the pudding batter into the tin and fasten the lid.
  • Put the wire rack inside the large cooking pot. Cover it with water, place it on the stove-top and bring the water to the boil.
  • Lower the steamed pudding tin into the pot, so that it sits on the wire rack.
  • Put the lid on the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and boil the pudding for an hour and a half.
  • While it is cooking, lift the lid of the pot occasionally to check the water level. If water has boiled away, add more boiling water to keep the level up.
  • After the cooking time has elapsed, lift out the pudding tin. Immediately invert it on a serving dish and lift away the tin from the pudding.
  • Serve drizzled with maple syrup, low-histamine custard, more golden syrup or coconut cream.

Decorate with a sprig of plastic holly for a festive look.

The pudding can be re-heated later if it is not to be eaten straight away, but do remove it from the tin while it is hot.

Wishing you a happy, healthy Festive Season!

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