Whether spring or fall, many of us suffer from seasonal allergies. I’ve had allergies on and off for many years, always in late summer/fall. My husband gets terrible allergies in the spring. Airborne pollen is the most common cause of seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. Allergies can be miserable! Why does your body decide to put up such a big fight against something as insignificant as pollen from a tree or weed? Part of our problem may be that in general, our living environments have become more “sterile” – cleaner overall – resulting in our immune system becoming increasingly unable to differentiate between a real threat and harmless pollen and dust. Another part of the problem may lie in our digestive systems: Processed food, genetically modified ingredients and synthetic food additives all destroy the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which has a negative effect on your immune system. (Did you know that EIGHTY PERCENT – 80%!!!! of your immune system is in your gut??? That number makes sense when you consider everything we take from the outside to our insides by eating!). In general, to help the gut (and therefore allergies), you’ll want to avoid processed foods, focusing on organic, locally-grown foods instead, and include fermented foods in your diet to optimize your gut flora. It may be wise to investigate if wheat or dairy are good foods for you by eliminating those foods for a period of time, and then reintroducing those foods in a very careful way.
Here are some other tips to help seasonal allergies:
• Eating local RAW honey can be helpful for some people. The honey must be raw though! (Do not try this if you are allergic to bee stings!)
• Flushing your sinuses with a neti pot – the act of flushing pollen out of the sinus cavity is
extremely soothing and helpful
• Ensuring your vitamin D levels are adequate via a blood test
• Increasing omega-3 fat intake while decreasing omega-6 intake – reduces inflammation
associated with swollen sinuses
• Fermented veggies and probiotics can add beneficial bacteria to your gut which help to heal the gut
• Foods that contain natural antihistamine bioflavonoids can stabilize mast cells (the ones that secrete all that nasty histamine that makes us snotty and itchy). These foods include citrus fruits, onions, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, and lettuce.
• The same natural antihistamines mentioned above may be taken in a supplement form – and they have none of the side effects of over the counter antihistamines like Benadryl (***this is something that has worked amazingly well for me personally.)
• It’s also important to avoid household chemicals like triclosan (found in antibacterial soaps) and BPA (bisphenol-A, found in the linings of cans and in certain plastics). Studies have shown that these two chemicals can aggravate allergies and hay fever. Get rid of that antibacterial soap; plain soap is enough to kill bacteria and other germs.
Feel free to contact me for more information!
Bobbie Covert, Certified Nutrition Therapist (NTP)
Visit us as www.FitChickExpress.com for more information about Bobbie Covert, NPT, and our fitness program for women!
Photo courtesy of Valeo Health and Wellness Center