Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Stress and Hay Fever – There Is a Link

Hay Fever is not caused by stress, but a spoonful of relaxation could help the symptoms go down!

So says Dr Amber Patterson in her new study from the University of Ohio and published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Stress can make symptoms associated with seasonal allergies worse. Her new study followed 179 people who suffered from hay fever.

Researchers found out that 39 percent of the participants had more than one flare up. Patients who had higher levels of stress were more likely to experience flare ups.
64 percent of the participants with higher stress levels had more than four flare ups over two weeks.

The researchers didn’t find a link between flare ups and stress during the same day but some patients had flare ups within days of experiencing higher stress. Dr. Patterson is the author of the study. She said that stress can lead to several negative effects on the body that causes more symptoms for people with allergies. The study also showed that patients with more frequent flare ups of their allergy have greater negative mood. This could also be one of the causes of the flare ups.

People with allergy can also be stressed by symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. These symptoms could be the source of stress for some patients. Treating stress might not cure allergies but it can decrease the flare ups.

The study discovered a relationship between the severity of allergy symptoms and stress levels. But the researchers failed to prove a cause and effect relationship between the two.
If you are a hay fever sufferer – and even if you are not – there are things you can do to decrease and control stress. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, relaxation techniques like bio feedback, taking a break from daily routine for relaxation and fun, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, taking care of your health, and trying to avoid things that cause stress. Anyone who is suffering from allergies needs to learn how to cope with their stress in order to prevent frequent flare ups.

To help manage stress and stoke up any flagging energy levels try Vitano, containing Rhodiola rosea. Vitano is a registered traditional herbal medicine used for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress such as fatigue, exhaustion and mild anxiety
For more information visit www.vitano.co.uk

To help with anxiety and low mood you should try a couple of months on the herbal remedy KarmaMood. The first St John’s Wort registered traditional herbal medicine sold in the UK containing St John’s Wort.

Based on long standing use, it can relieve the symptoms of mild anxiety and low mood. Known by the Ancient Greeks as the Sunshine herb, it is suitable for people over the age of 18.

For all the information go to www.karmamood.co.uk

You can make a start with the following recipes for relaxation.

Peaceful Prune Pud

Traditional British rice pudding is usually cooked in the oven - how I remember the delight of peeling off the skin at school! This pud doesn’t have skin, but the additional benefits of prunes - or any other dried fruit - make it a soothing dessert for the end of the day. The high natural sugar content of dried fruit keeps the blood sugar supply to the brain on an even keel, which is emotionally relaxing. Tryptophan in cheese and the lethargy-fighting components of cinnamon turn this into the most peaceful pud around.

100g/3 and a half oz pudding rice
1 tspn lemon juice
40g/1 and a half oz sugar
700ml/1/4 pints milk
115/4oz stoned prunes, snipped
2 tbspns mascarpone
1 tspn cinnamon

1 Put rice, lemon juice and sugar in saucepan. Add about 200ml/7 fl oz water and simmer until water is nearly absorbed.
2 Pour in milk, simmer for 10 mins
3 Add prunes and continue simmering for 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until rich and creamy
4 Serve with a dollop of mascarpone and sprinkled with cinnamon

Chard Chowder

Nothing is more soothing than a bowl of hot soup - redolent of country kitchens, traditional cooking and the ultimate comfort food. But this chowder will take you even closer to nirvana than most. The nerve-nourishing B vitamins from lentils, the hormone-balancing plant chemicals in sage and the anti-oxidants in oregano (traditional ingredients in herbs de Provence) turn this nourishing soup into a bowl of relaxation.

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tbspns olive oil
25g/1oz butter
Half a tspn herbes de Provence
175g/6 oz tiny green lentils, thoroughly rinsed
650g/1lb 5oz chard, thoroughly washed and roughly torn. (If you can’t get chard, use spinach.)

1 Soften onion and garlic in oil and butter
2 Add lentils, herbs and 850ml/11/2 pints water
3 Boil briskly for 10 mins, then simmer for 25 mins until almost tender
4 Add chard and continue simmering for another 10 mins
5 Liquidise if you like, but this soup tastes great left as it is
Cook’s Note: This soup would work well with any pulse, but make sure you look at the cooking instructions carefully. Some need soaking overnight and boiling for longer.

Lettuce Pray
If you go to bed every night praying for the sweet breath of Morpheus - the god of sleep - to envelope you and carry you off to the land of nod, this delicious soup will be the certain answer to your prayers. The B vitamins and enzymes in the chicken stock will calm your nerves - and the extraordinary chemicals in the lettuce will combine to bring you hours of refreshing sleep. Lettuce seeds have been found in the most ancient Egyptian tombs and were left with the Pharaohs to ensure their eternal sleep

1 medium onion, chopped
Half a clove of garlic, chopped
4 tbspns olive oil
1.2 litres/2 pints pints light coloured chicken stock
6 lettuce hearts, thoroughly washed and shredded
225ml/8 fl oz bio yogurt
Handful of chives, finely snipped

1 Soften onion and garlic in oil
2 Add stock and bring to boil
3 Stir in lettuce and simmer for gently for 10 mins only
4 Stir in yogurt
5 Serve hot or cold sprinkled with chives

Cauli Brocci Cheese
The myth that cheese brings on nightmares just isn’t true. In fact, the truth is just the opposite. Tryptophan in cheese stimulates the brain’s productions of relaxing hormones and helps induce sleep. The original story was spread by Victorian men when women were battling in The Temperance Society to stop men drinking. Husbands put the blame for their restless nights on the Stilton, when, in fact, their over-consumption of port was the real cause

1 small cauliflower, cut into florets and blanched for 8 mins
1 medium head of broccoli cut into florets and blanched for 4 mins
25g/1oz unsalted butter
2 tbspns white flour
250ml/9 fl oz milk
1 beef tomato, finely sliced
140g/5 oz mature organic Cheddar cheese, grated
Handful of pumpkin seeds, husks removed

1 Melt butter gently. Mix in flour and stir for 3 mins
2 Still stirring, add milk gradually until you have smooth cream
3 Add three-quarters of cheese and mix until melted
4 Arrange cauliflower and broccoli alternately in shallow oven-proof dish and scatter with pumpkin seeds. Arrange tomato slices on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake at 220C/425F/gas 7 for 15 mins until cheese bubbles

Cook’s Note: start cooking the cauliflower first, after four minutes add the tenderer broccoli. Keep the saucepan covered, don’t add salt and save the cooking water to add to soup or gravy – if you take grannie’s advice, you’ll drink it, it’s full of minerals.


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