It’s that beautiful time of year again… Bloomin’ Spring! The sun is finally proving it does still exist, warmth is in the air and smiles start returning, as your core begins to defrost from the freezing depths of winter. The promise of summer is bursting your cells with happiness, until… you’ve got your own winter storm brewing within your head! With all consuming, constantly watering itchy eyes, a mix between your nose being incessantly stuffed up or running like a tap and to top it all off; the back to back sneezing, throwing the excessive amount of fluids, drowning your head, at the nearest person, who is brave enough to stand in proximity!
In fact Australia is set to face a horror hay fever season, said to be the worst in years due to our wet winter, increasing pollen counts and causing a super sneezy spring. If your nose starts itching, your eyes begin watering and you sneeze repeatedly, you could be one of the 4.5 million-strong hay fever sufferers in Australia. But don’t just reach for a bandaid ‘solution’, in the form of a Zyrtec to mask your symptoms… let’s treat the cause, naturally.
An allergic response occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to a harmless substance (like pollen, cat hair, grass, dust etc) and produces an immune response, as if these seemingly harmless materials were public enemy number one! With the release of histamine, the body provokes an inflammatory reaction to get rid of the ‘threat’ in your body. Your body starts bringing out the big guns to attack dust or pollen or cat hair as if the allergen were a pathogen trying to make you sick. These reactions are inflammatory to the body and indicates a low grade systemic inflammation when your allergies are common. Diseases like asthma and eczema are closely related to allergies and hayfever, and you may even find severity in these decrease with the following natural remedies too.
Somewhere along the skewed road of ‘take a pill to ‘fix’ this’ medicine, our society started believing that seasonal allergies were normal, and those all consuming itchy eyes, running nose and incessant sneezing, are just something an individual needs to deal with. Seasonal allergies are far from normal and from how your body is innately designed to function. The fact allergies are so common shows how many have inflammation and body’s which are not functioning as their optimally designed to.
If you are an allergy sufferer, here are six steps to naturally conquer your allergies and help lower your body’s inflammation, providing relief from symptoms:
Probiotics: Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut, which has an immense amount of functions in the body, especially in relation to immune regulation. 80% of the immune system is located in the gut and it’s significantly important that the gut biome is healthy to ensure healthy immune function. Probiotics support the balance of healthy bacteria in the intestines, which act as a gate keeper along with the intestinal walls, determining what allergens enter the body and which stay out. Friendly bacteria even train your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and to respond appropriately. This important function prevents your immune system from overreacting to non-harmful antigens, which is the foundation of allergies. A healthy gut micro biome may therefore help reduce allergy symptoms. (1)
Reduce Histamine Containing Foods: Did you know that the act of digestion itself causes histamine release? Histamine is a neurotransmitter that has an important role in the immune response. The chain is: food in, histamine release, gastric acid flows to the stomach to begin digestion, histamine is released again from the food. If you have taken one of those ‘magic’ antihistamine pills, some of the histamine will be blocked from attaching to receptors, so you may have less symptoms, however this does not magically flush the histamine from the body. Pharmaceutical antihistamines only stop the histamine from binding to receptors, leaving it free to flow around the body, causing further inflammation and having damaging effects. (2) Histamine-containing foods can contribute to high histamine levels in the body and is a naturally occurring substance in many foods. Histamine is present in most foods, though higher in some, like produce that have been aged and fermented – cured meats, pickles, sausages, cheeses and alcohol to name a few. In general, the longer a food is stored or left to mature, the greater its histamine content will be.
Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Many foods have natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. Fresh vegetables like leafy greens, onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric and many herbs have these effects, along with papaya. pomegranate, apples and berries which can all inhibit the release of histamine. Numerous studies have also found that omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease the incidence of hay fever and allergies. (3) A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids lowers the amount of inflammatory chemicals produced by the body after exposure to an allergen. Wild salmon, rainbow trout, oysters and other seafood are nutritious options. If you’re not a fan of seafood, a high quality filtered Omega 3 ALA DHA supplement should be taken daily.
Water: Research shows that staying well hydrated helps relieve allergy symptoms. A 1995 Dutch study confirmed that dehydration triggers histamine production, as a defensive mechanism to preserve water remaining in the body, as well as to prevent future loss. (4) Histamine production increases with dehydration and can cause the symptoms of seasonal allergies such as runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. Through adequate water intake of 2.5L to 3L, symptoms of allergies can be greatly reduced. Hydration also helps in the detoxification processes to remove allergens from the body.
Chiropractic: A healthy and functioning nervous system, which directly influences and regulates the immune system, is essential to conquering allergies. (5) Chiropractic care does not treat allergies, it aims to restore optimal function in your nervous system by removing misalignments and irritation in the spine. Studies have shown “children under chiropractic care have greater immune system response and are better able to cope with allergens such as pollen, weeds, grasses, etc. compared to children raised under allopathic care.” (6)
Diet Changes: The nutritional approach to conquering allergies and seasonal hay fever involves avoiding inflammation promoting foods and those which encourage mucus production, while boosting foods that have natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. (7) Eliminate mucus-forming foods such as milk products, sugar and processed carbohydrates. Inflammatory promoting foods, again include highly processed products, gluten, grains, dairy, additives, preservatives and foods high in sugar. (8) (9) Food is not the enemy, it’s about being on the same team as your body and consuming food to nourish it’s function, rather than inhibit it. Do this with a great variety of fresh, live produce to support the function of all your body’s systems and cells.
By following these simple steps you can beat seasonal allergies naturally and, in the process, restore health and function to your body. From personal experience my allergies were all consuming. My paths around the house were scattered with trails of tissues, I don’t remember a time I didn’t have a blocked or running nose, from the moment I woke to my head hitting the pillow and I sounded like I always had a cold. For years I went the standard pharmaceutical route, thinking nothing of popping an antihistamine, until I began understanding how the body functions, what we’re designed for and the role of nutritional medicine. I applied these nutritional changes and began getting adjusted on a regular basis and I haven’t touched an antihistamine since, nor have I needed to.
There’s no one cure for seasonal allergies but a multifactorial approach, assists the body in functioning as it’s designed to, healthily. A diet that supports gut health, helps regulate your immune system and eating nutritionally dense foods reduces inflammation. Without a diet steady in inflammatory gut irritants, like that of sugar, gluten, dairy and processed foods, immune function improves and allergies alleviate as a result.
About the Author:
Sarah's vision and purpose is to give people access to a clear understanding of true nutrition for thriving health. She believes every person holds within them power to change anything and has a passion to inspire and give insight into the ingredients needed for thriving health and creating empowered, extraordinary lives through delicious and nourishing nutrition. . Sarah has done the extensive hands on experience to gain sound understanding of the nutrition she lives and breathes. And this coupled with consistently staying up to date with the latest, reputable scientific research, based on epigenetics and evolutionary biology, she has created the distinctive Nutrition program, allowing individuals to enjoy effortless weight loss, boundless energy and vibrant health.
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