Dietary Suggestions for Hayfever Sufferers

Also see: Rachel’s blog post “New Year: A Healthy Diet for HayFever”

Choose good quality, organic food which will contain more vitamins and less synthetic pesticides.

Beta carotene is high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids. They are said to be good for preparing your body and fighting off hayfever symptoms. Orange and red fruit and vegetables are high in beta carotene. Try oranges, grapefruits, red apples, watermelon, orange and yellow pepper.

Dark green vegetables are also high in beta carotene and help to cleanse the bowel. Try watercress, rocket, spinach, broccoli, green beans, kale, nettles and seaweed.

You could help to reduce your hayfever symptoms by making small changes to what you eat.

Try making nettle soup from fresh nettles near your home. Sprouted seeds and bean sprouts are also very beneficial. Add them to salads and soups.

Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds have beneficial properties too. Sprinkle on salads and vegetables.

Other really effective dietary changes you can make include cutting out or limiting dairy, refined foods, alcohol, processed foods and caffeine. These are the foods that stimulate mucus, which can build up in the throat and make your hayfever symptoms worse.

Red onions and apples contain high amounts of the natural antihistamine quercetin. Red wine is also high in quercetin. Pineapples contain bromelain which helps the body absorb quercetin.


Many people believe a teaspoon of honey a day from local bees can help to build up resistance to the pollen in your local area. But this won’t work when you go out of your local area.

Yoghurt is cooling and has a mild anti-histamine effect. Plain, unflavoured, organic yoghurt is best. Do not eat if you suffer from dairy intolerance or excess catarrh.

Garlic can help to reduce excess catarrh. Eat two raw cloves a day (you can cook them in food) or take a garlic supplement.

Oats feed and nourish the nervous system. They contain large amounts of B vitamins and minerals.

Beneficial food supplements include spirulina, blue green algae, wheatgrass and chlorella.

Detoxing will cleanse your body and help ensure you are at your healthiest to fight any unwanted hayfever symptoms. Carrot juice and green vegetables are powerful natural detoxificants which can help to cleanse your system.

Other really effective dietary changes you can make include cutting out or limiting dairy, refined foods, alcohol, processed foods and caffeine.  These are the foods that stimulate mucus, which can build up in the throat and make your hayfever symptoms worse.

All dairy produce is mucus forming. Some nutritionists say you should cut it out completely. Alternatives include goats, sheep, rice, oat and soya milk. One tip is to only eat organic dairy products – these will be the most natural and free from pesticides.

If you have a wheat allergy this may make your hayfever symptoms worse. Check how you react when eating wheat products and avoid them if you experience any symptoms. Wheat allergy symptoms include asthma and itchiness including itchy throat, itchy scalp and itchy skin or irritated skin.

Cutting out refined foods can also help to cleanse your body. Refined foods include white bread, white rice, white pasta, white sugar and brown sugar. Substitute wholemeal versions. Sweetener alternatives include dried sugar cane juice, agave syrup; maple syrup, brown rice syrup in small amounts and honey.

Processed foods – avoid pre-packaged foods as much as possible, especially foods containing additives including e numbers.

Avoid alcohol if you can.  If you still want to drink, you could try diluting your drink with sparkling water or lemonade or alternating each drink with a glass of water.

Caffeine makes it more difficult for the body to cope with stress and stops minerals being absorbed. Try rooibos tea or herbal teas instead. Decaffeinated tea and coffee are a better alternative to caffeinated teas and coffee, although they do not bring the benefits that herbal teas do.

Herbal Teasa Guide

Herbal teas can help calm the mind and cleanse the body leaving it free to fight any symptoms. Stress can cause increased allergic reactions to allergens so anything that can help relax your mind and body will also be helpful. Try a herbal tea with relaxing, soothing and calming properties.

Nettle juice or tea is a powerful natural antihistamine and eases coughs and other respiratory problems.

Chamomile or camomile tea is soothing and calming.

Lemon tea lifts the spirits and relaxes the mind and body.

Rosemary relieves throat and nasal congestion associated with colds and hayfever.

Pine needles, eucalyptus leaves and rosehips have soothing and decongestant properties.

Plantain is a natural antihistamine, also anti-inflammatory.

Goldenrod helps to cleanse the body, aids digestion, helps prevent and clear mucus, helps with cold and hayfever symptoms.

Liquorice is a delicious herbal tea which helps to clear nasal congestion and has other health benefits including anti-viral properties.

Dandelion tea or dandelion coffee is said to be the nicest tasting herbal tea and most beneficial to the health. Nettle tea is also delicious and has no strong or bitter aftertaste.

Registered Dieticians and Nutritionists

For more information or for a more individually tailored advice see a dietician or nutritionist. A dietician is degree trained but a nutritionist is not likely to be. The term nutritionist is much more loosely applied. It is possible to take a food sensitivity test to find out if you are allergic to certain things – ask a dietician more about this.

Useful links for further information