While most people automatically reach for over-the-counter or prescription medications for seasonal allergies, natural treatments can provide relief that is just as effective without any nasty or dangerous side effects and toxicity.
Seasonal allergies strike each year when pollen and dander cause a shock to our immune system, affecting some people more than others. This can result in nasal congestion, headache, itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and wheezing, nausea, and more.
Simply put, seasonal allergies are a result of the body’s immune system thinking that pollen is a threat. The reason your response to these environmental allergens is heightened is often because your immune system is already on high alert due to chronic inflammation. This causes your over-active, over-stimulated immune system to become hypersensitive to seasonal allergens as a result. The body then releases histamines in response and this causes the symptoms.
Since seasonal allergies are caused by your immune system, anything that compromises it can make things worse. This includes a high sugar, processed food diet, stress, lack of sleep, food sensitivities, weak gut microbiome, and environmental toxins.
Treating your seasonal allergy symptoms naturally requires addressing diet, lifestyle, and natural therapies.
“80% of your immune system is located in the gut, so it makes sense that calming inflammation in your gut to restore the immune system’s balance in the first step in treating seasonal allergies.”
~ Amy Myers, M.D.
Where do we turn first? Our diet, of course. A key strategy involves getting our gut healthy since 80% of our immune system is in our gut microbiome. So feeding and nurturing ourselves with the right foods is critical.
Certain foods can in fact make your seasonal allergies worse. First of all, avoid dairy, sugar, and wheat. (These dietary changes alone frequently get people off their allergy medications.) And alcohol provokes even more histamine response. Also, chocolate, processed foods, wheat, peanuts, and even your morning cup of coffee are known culprits that act as hay fever catalysts. Additionally, if you have a ragweed allergy, you might want to avoid melons, zucchini, bananas, cucumbers, sunflower seeds and chamomile tea, as they can cause allergic reactions in your body and worsen seasonal allergy symptoms.
Helpful foods include spicy foods (such as cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and onion) which help to clear out mucus, plenty of fresh organic vegetables and clean proteins, local raw honey, bone broth, probiotic rich foods, and quercitin rich foods (such as leafy greens, tomatoes, pineapple, apples, cherries, kiwi, and parsley).
Did you know that detoxing your diet with a whole body nutritional cleanse can help reduce your seasonal allergy symptoms? In fact, a whole body cleanse flushes out mucus and clears away toxins from the body, reducing the load on our detoxification pathways. As a result, our liver is better able to filter the blood and deal with the allergens, thereby reducing the load on the immune system.
“The liver is a great mediator of inflammation in the body, and when it’s “hot” and working overtime metabolizing our stress hormones, medications, alcohol, and processed foods, allergies can flare. I have seen again and again that when my clients reduce their baseline activity by cleaning up their diets, increasing hydration, and supporting the liver in its detox duties, that allergy symptoms they thought they were stuck with diminish sometimes drastically.”
~ Lily Manzarella, Farmacopia
In addition to avoiding certain foods, and incorporating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, allergy sufferers can benefit from the addition of the following high-quality, natural supplements, therapies, and lifestyle choices.
Spirulina, Quercitin, Probiotics, Vitamin A, Bromelain, Zinc, and Stinging Nettle.
Neti pot, Essential Oils (menthol, eucalyptus, lavender, & peppermint), and Acupuncture.
Manage stress, adequate sleep, stay hydrated, limit exposure (more pollen is released in the early evening so avoid outdoor activities at this time), keep doors and windows closed, shower & wash hair before bed, wash clothing and bedding and change pillowcase frequently, wipe down pets, de-clutter, replace carpet with hard-surfaced floors if possible, and invest in a HEPA filter.
Do you suffer from the tiresome and annoying symptoms of seasonal allergies? What natural treatments have you found effective?
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Happy, Healthy Living!
JoAnn Newton is a Master Massage Therapist, Certified Diet Counselor & Holistic Nutrition Educator, and Spiritual Counselor who is passionate about creating, living, and enjoying health, balance, and freedom on all levels, both personally and professionally, while providing educational and healing services.