Now that spring is upon us and we’re finally getting that warm weather we have desperately yearned for, most of us will be suffering from the plight of seasonal allergies. (Cue the dreadful music!)
For many, if not all of us, the quickest relief for allergy symptoms is to take an over the counter pill such as Zyrtec or Claritin. I know many people who take it everyday or they land up with a sinus infection and have to go to the doctor. However, these pills are definitely not a miracle pill. They’re often associated with unwanted side effects including drowsiness and irritation.
But wait… there’s hope!
What if I told you that you don’t have to be miserable throughout allergy season? What if I told you that you could do it without any over the counter or prescription drugs?
If you’re interested, read on. I know you’re skeptical, I was too until I started doing my research!
First, to understand how we can preempt allergy season, we have to understand what our body is going through. Mother Earth News explains it the best:
Picture a grain of pollen — it looks something like a spiny sea urchin. Now imagine this prickly invader entering your nasal passages and latching onto soft mucous membranes. These mucous membranes line our bronchial and nasal passages and contain immune cells, called mast cells, which are loaded with histamines. Receptors sit on top of these mast cells, and when an allergen trigger — such as pollen, mold or pet dander — lands on top of the receptor, it alerts the mast cells, which respond by releasing histamine and other chemicals. The histamine initiates a series of reactions designed to help the body get rid of the intruder, including sneezing, watery eyes and itching. For some people, particularly those with asthma, this reaction may also include swelling in the bronchial tubes that makes it difficult to breathe.
Ok, so now that you know what actually causes you wheezing, sneezing, and sniffling, it’s time to understand how your body can fight off allergies, with a little help from you!
Allergies are associated with weak adrenal, immune and digestive functions.
So, if you begin to support and improve them, 1-2 months before the allergy season, you’ll be in tip top shape to handle any pollen coming your way. Below are a few ways to start the process:
1. Probiotics – Add beneficial bacteria to your diet and your digestive system will thank you. You can take a supplement or include more fermented foods or yogurt with live cultures in your diet.
2. Diet – Your diet may be to blame for your allergies and your weakened immune and digestive system. Take a good look at what your body reacts to and if necessary experiment with eliminating trigger foods from your diet. Common triggers include gluten, soy, dairy, and sugar.
- Quercetin, naturally found in citrus, onions, parsley and tea, helps stabilize the mast cells and prevents the release of histamine. In order to get the full benefits for allergy relief, you would have to take a supplement of 1,000 mg per day. However, this is not recommended for those with liver problems and women who are pregnant, nursing or are on hormonal contraceptives.
- Stinging nettle is another supplement that inhibits the body’s ability to produce histamine.
- Or there’s always good old organic apple cider vinegar which reduces mucous production and cleanses the lymphatic system all while assisting with digestion.
- Omega 3 fatty acids in a fish oil supplement will help fight inflammation by lowering levels of leukotrienes.
For those of you that are already suffering, try and implement some of the above remedies so you can improve your immune and digestive systems. But, in the meantime, lessen your suffering by trying some of the following:
1. Shower when you get home or before you go to sleep. This ensures that you’re not tracking the pollen in with you or sleeping in it.
2. Workout in the evening. Trees tend to release their pollen in the morning while ragweed prefers midday.
3. Try out a Saline Nasal Spray and/or a Neti pot to flush sinuses and rinse away any pollen.
With just some help from you, your body can fight off allergens. You don’t have to suffer!
If you’re interested in learning more, contact me below.