7 Healthy Tips to Help Relieve Seasonal Allergies
By Dr. Molly Casey
Seasonal allergies can be debilitating at times. This may sound overly dramatic, but the suffering is not easily comprehended until you have seen, or experienced first-hand, seasons in which allergens are at a high point.
What are seasonal allergies, anyway? An allergy develops because the body’s immune system is sensitized and overreacts to something in the environment. The most common symptoms of this overreaction are itchy and swollen eyes, runny nose, and non-stop sneezing.
Seasonal allergy(ies) is a broad phrase that encompasses triggers within the environment common to specific seasons. For instance, tree and grass pollen are generally higher in spring and summer with cool nights and warm days. Ragweed pollens are generally very high in mid-September.
7 Healthy Tips to Help You Find Relief from Seasonal Allergies
Hydrate - Face it, many of us don’t drink enough water on a daily basis -- let alone while fighting allergens. If the body's over-reactive and consistently fighting what it perceives to be foreign invaders (pollen, mold, etc.), its requirement for basic needs goes up. Thus, it needs more water. Make sure you’re drinking at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water. So if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water daily.
Avoid histamine-containing foods - The inflammation process is modulated by a substance called histamine. The immune system recognizes something in one’s body as unwanted and it releases histamine in order to attack the invader. When the immune system is over reactive such as when suffering from allergies, the goal is to decrease inflammation. Believe it or not, there are actually foods that contain histamine. Histamines are chemicals your immune system makes. They act like bouncers at a club and help your body get rid of something that's bothering you -- in this case, an allergy trigger, or "allergen."Histamines start the process that hustles those allergens out of your body or off your skin. They can make you sneeze, tear up, or itch -- whatever it takes to get the job done. They are part of your body's defense system.
Your body's intention -- to keep you safe -- is good. But its overreaction gives you those all-too-familiar allergy symptoms, which you then try to stop with an antihistamine. Thus, one would ideally refrain from consuming these foods if they suffer from seasonal allergies. Foods that contain histamine are those that have been aged and fermented -- pickles, cheese, sauerkraut, kombucha, sausage, beer and alcohol.
Eat more anti-inflammatory foods - Supporting the health of your body and decreasing inflammation can be done, in part, by the food you eat. An anti-inflammatory diet consists of fresh vegetables, wild-caught fish, and nuts. Foods to be avoided because they promote inflammation are processed foods, grains and sugar.
Saline rinse - Warm water and salt is a great natural saline rinse for the nose. Many use the Neti Pot rinse in which water is streamed up one nostril and out the other to clear the nasal passages of allergens.
Regular chiropractic adjustments - Chiropractic adjustments allow for proper function of the nervous system, which controls every other system and function in the body, including the immune system. In my professional experience with an immune system issue such as overreaction, it’s quite logical to first go to the master control system (the nervous system) first and make sure it’s running optimally, then employ additional levels of intervention and support.
Supplements - High quality natural supplements that reduce histamine are a great option, Vitamin C and quercetin being two of them.
Acupuncture - This is can be a phenomenal adjunctive therapy to decrease inflammation and allergy symptoms as well as overall health.
Seasonal allergies can be tough, but there are things you can do to support your body’s ability to get through these times with greater ease. It’s not always fun or easy, but follow the tips above and your path to relief from allergies this season, may be a little more clear.
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