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Yoghurt is packed with health-giving micro-organisms Photo: Thinkstock
Ward off hay fever with honey
It’s spring, and while everybody else is outside enjoying the warmer weather, you’re stuck at home without even an open window to let the new season in. That’s because you’re so allergic to pollen that just a few grains make your eyes start watering and your nose start running. Raw honey may be the answer to your problems. It contains traces of pollen, so eating a few tablespoons a day, perhaps spread on toast or stirred into your tea, may help to accustom your immune system to pollen and stop it from triggering hay fever every time you’re exposed to it. Make sure the honey you use is raw, and try to buy it from a source close to home so that it contains pollen from your area. Raw, local honey is often sold at farmers’ markets and health food shops.
Take algae for allergies
Here’s another smart, unorthodox trick for controlling those seasonal sniffles: try drinks or supplements that contain spirulina, a blue-green algae. This is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and can help to quell an overreactive response of the immune system to triggers such as pollen. In one overseas study that involved giving a group of hay-fever sufferers a daily dose of 2000 mg spirulina, researchers found an approximately 32 per cent reduction in the severity of hay-fever symptoms. According to a review in theJournal of Laryngology and Otology, this and other studies give good evidence that spirulina has positive effects in relieving hay-fever symptoms.
Avoid colds with yogurt
You may have heard of ‘friendly’ bacteria – the type that keeps your body in good working order and stops the ‘bad’ bacteria from taking over. Well, yogurt is packed with these healthy microorganisms and it has been shown that eating two 150-g servings a day may help you to avoid the misery of colds during winter. Swedish researchers discovered this when they gave a group of factory workers a drink enriched with Lactobacillus reuteri, one of the bacteria found in some types of yogurt, daily for two and a half months. Just 11 per cent of these people took a day off work because of a cold or flu during the study, compared with 23 per cent of their coworkers. And yogurt itself may also help. In another study, people who ate a small bowl of it every day had 25 per cent fewer colds than non-yogurt eaters – regardless of whether the yogurt contained live bacteria or had been pasteurised. The trick is to start eating yogurt during summer, to give your immune system enough time to build up resistance before the cold and flu season.
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