As soon as the snow melted, my throat started itching and sneezing become my preferred past time. Allergies are the pits so I am thankful mine have improved over the years. There was a time when spring would make me miserable with watery eyes and nasal congestion, but I now have very mild symptoms.
If you also suffer from seasonal allergies, put these simple tips to the task and get some natural allergy relief:
- Rinse allergens like dust, dander and pollen out of your sinuses with a saline solution in a neti pot or other sinus irrigation system. For added benefit use Sinus Congestion essential oil before using your neti pot or add a few drop of Goldenrod tincture to your saline solution.
- Drink several cups of an herbal infusion of stinging nettles a day. Though the gardeners among us may recognize stinging nettles as obnoxious weeds, they are incredibly helpful with allergy symptoms. Nettles have a very grassy flavor that is balanced nicely by other herbs, such as peppermint which will also help relieve sinus congestion.
- Avoid red meat and dairy. Red meat contains arachidonic acid that is used by the body to produce cytokines and leukotrines, compounds that promote the allergic response. Dairy foods are mucogenic and will worsen congestion.
- Supplementing with vitamin C can also reduce allergy symptoms by suppressing production of histamine. You can take up to 10 grams a day, but work up to that dosage slowly as high doses of vitamin C can also cause diarrhea. Other supplements that may help relieve allergy symptoms are zinc picolinate, probiotics, B vitamins, and the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA found in fish and cod liver oil.
- Incorporate anti-inflammatory spices into your meal plan. Turmeric, ginger and cayenne are three of the most powerful of these, but most spices contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could prevent another season of hay fever? Allergies of all types are simply an over-reaction of the immune system. What if you could calm your immune system down and change how it responds to allergens? Try incorporating these dietary and lifestyle modifications to lower your immune response and say bye-bye to allergies:
- Immunize yourself from seasonal allergens by eating local raw honey. Raw honey contains common allergens like pollen. Local honey contains pollen of plants in your immediate surroundings - the very ones you are allergic to. Take a teaspoon or more a day to gently reduce your immune reaction to these substances.
- Food intolerances put your immune system on the defense, increasing the likelihood that seasonal allergies will persist. Identify food intolerances with an Elimination Diet and avoid foods that trigger a reaction in your body for 6-12 months before reintroducing.
- Incorporate an anti-inflammatory diet by eating lots of colorful vegetables and fruits, whole grains and beans, pasture-raised meats, dairy and eggs all flavored with an abundance of herbs and spices. This means also restricting or avoiding refined and processed foods, grain-fed / conventional animal products, sugar, alcohol and caffeine. Choose organic food whenever possible.
- Reduce daily stress and address adrenal fatigue to benefit from the anti-inflammatory effect of our stress hormone cortisol. Experiment with relaxing techniques like meditation, qigong, massage, acupuncture, and yoga.
Cultivating a wellness-focused lifestyle has many, many benefits including eliminating the occurrence of seasonal allergies. Give these tips a shot and enjoy a deep (sneeze-free) breath this spring!
Jesse Haas is a co-founder of Wellness Minneapolis, Board Certified Holistic Health Coach, and a Certified Massage Therapist. She is also pursuing a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. Click here to learn more about Jesse.