Most areas in both the UK and the US have experienced very unusual weather patterns this past winter and so far this spring. We're cold when we're supposed to be warm, warm when we're supposed to be cold, and our bodies have no idea what to do with themselves! As a result, you may be noticing more people suffering from seasonal allergies lately (and most likely will continue to see it through May and perhaps even June) as these temperature shifts occur. If you get symptoms of hay fever, or allergic rhinitis as it's otherwise known, it can be a miserable and long spring. You may find temporary relief from over-the-counter meds, such as Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec, but there are subtle ways to improve and even prevent these symptoms through your diet.
Signs & Symptoms of Hay Fever
- Runny, itchy, blocked nose
- Frequent sneezing
- Itchy & watery eyes
- Itchy throat
- Symptoms worsen at higher pollen count
- Symptoms only occur during Spring (roughly March to May)
This morning, I gave a free nutrition talk at an acupuncture clinic in Putney (SW London) covering all bases on this topic, but in the interest of keeping things short and sweet, I wanted to mention one particularly great family of nutrients that can make a huge difference in all manner of inflammatory conditions. And of course, I've created a tasty recipe to match!
The nutrients in question are antioxidants. Many of the "superfoods" that have become so popular have high antioxidant levels, but one of the best ways to determine whether or not a fruit or vegetable has them is their color. The brighter the color, the more antioxidants. For example, blueberries have a great antioxidant count (especially when they're organically grown) in the form of vitamin C and anthocyanins, which give them their beautiful purple-blue color.
Antioxidants are important in an anti-inflammatory diet, especially for those with seasonal allergies, because of their immune system support and protection against free radicals. Allergies are an immune system condition - in hay fever, the cells on the lining of your eyes and nose release histamines when the pollen reaches them, causing inflammation and all that sneezing. Getting more antioxidants into the diet is easy - antioxidant-rich foods just so happen to be delicious!
- Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries
- Red grapes & red wine
- Green tea
- Garlic & onion
- Broccoli, carrots, leafy greens, beets
- Chili peppers & bell peppers
I don't think you'll have a problem with those, right?
To create my allergy-friendly, antioxidant-rich recipe, I went with organic blueberries. They're so tasty and give a beautiful color to any dish, but these little bites are such a sweet subtle shade of purple with flecks of blue. They have a cake-like consistency, perfect for an on-the-go snack. I've used walnuts here, but feel free to substitute almonds or pecans. And if you don't have any organic blueberries to hand, dried unsweetened blueberries would work too. Enjoy your daily dose of antioxidants with these!
Blueberry Coconut Cake Bites
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Keywords: raw dessert snack gluten-free soy-free sugar-free vegetarian wheat free spring summer
Ingredients (makes 15)
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup coconut flour (or another 1/2 cup shredded coconut)
- 1/2 cup dates
- 1/2 cup organic blueberries
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Place the walnuts and dates in a food processor and blitz until ground to the texture of coarse sand.
Add the remaining ingredients and process again until ingredients come together in a dough-like consistency. You want the dough to stick together but not be too wet (add more coconut flour) or too dry (add a splash of water).
Remove in spoonfuls and roll in your hands to create a small ball shape. Place in cupcake cases (optional) in a sealable container and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Keep in the fridge up to a week.