Itchy nose and throat, water eyes, runny nose, SNEEZING! It can feel like pollen is literally following you around! While we fully condone the use of anti-histamines, we also thought it worthwhile to canvas some natural ways to reduce the sneezes this spring.

  1. Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit contain more vitamin C, gram for gram, than oranges! Vitamin C is an effective natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory, and it also supports healthy immune function and protects from secondary respiratory conditions. Other good food sources of vitamin C and bioflavanoids include citrus fruits, strawberries, red capsicums, broccoli, papaya, guava and mango. 2. #### Pineapple

Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain, an enzyme with strong anti-inflammatory effects, which helps decrease inflammation and nasal congestion. 3. #### Turmeric

Commonly used in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine, this spice contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant. Curcumin has been found to have anti-allergy properties, which inhibit the release of histamine. Add about two teaspoons of the powder to rice dishes, stir-fries or soups. Just make sure you wear gloves as turmeric stains! 4. #### Onion

Having an onion a day can help keep your hay fever at bay. Onions are packed with the flavanoid quercetin, a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and natural anti-histamine. 5. #### Liquorice and nettle teas

Studies have shown that nettle tea can help relieve inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and ease nasal congestion, sneezing and itching. Drinking liquorice tea can also alleviate symptoms. Liquorice root has a soothing effect and helps to reduce irritation of the respiratory system. 6. #### Orange and green fruit and vegetables

The vibrant colour of carrots, pumpkin, apricots, mango and papaya indicates high levels of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Green leafy veg are also an excellent source (the orange colour is masked by their green chlorophyll content). Vitamin A is important for healthy mucous membranes throughout the respiratory tract. It also helps promote healthy immune function, prevent secondary respiratory infections and reduce inflammation. 7. #### Ginger

Make yourself a fresh veggie juice with a good slice of fresh ginger. Ginger is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory that helps reduce nasal swelling and associated hay fever symptoms. A good juice combo is carrot, celery, beetroot, apple and ginger. You can also add in some green “leafies” such as parsley, mint, kale or spinach. Fresh ginger can be added to curries and stir-fries, and is delicious made as a hot or iced tea. 8. #### Avoid certain foods

Limit or avoid cow’s milk and other dairy products as they can increase the production of mucus in the respiratory tract and exacerbate hay fever nasal congestion. Try alternatives such as rice, almond, quinoa and coconut milks.