The coming of spring brings new flowers, bright colours, warmer weather and for many people the aggravation of seasonal allergies.
Allergies are an over reaction by our immune system to an otherwise harmless substance called an allergen. In the case of spring time allergies, the allergen is pollen. Pollen initiates an immune response causing the release of chemicals in our body such as histamine and resulting in various symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy eyes and post nasal drip. This can surely take the joy out of spring.
So let’s take a look at some things that we can do to survive the Spring season.
First and foremost we must pay heed to our gut as the bulk of our immune system resides there and its tolerance is strongly influenced by our gut bacteria and intestinal function. So we must:
- Eat a whole foods diet
- Get adequate fibre
- Eat fermented foods
- Avoid sugar and processed foods
- Chew our food well
When it comes to diet:
- Increase consumption of foods such as garlic, parsley, apples, broccoli and green & black tea. These are all high in the bioflavonoid quercetin. Quercetin can help prevent the release of histamine
- Increase foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids. They can help quell the inflammation caused by allergic reactions. Such foods include wild caught salmon, ground flax seeds & chia seeds
- Increase intake of foods high in Vitamin C such as red peppers, kiwi, broccoli, green leafy vegetable and strawberries. Vitamin C can help to reduce histamine release
- Have a cup of Nettle tea. It is a natural antihistamine
- Eat foods high in antioxidants such as blueberries, sweet potatoes and leafy green vegetables as they can help to modulate the body’s inflammatory response
- Keep hydrated to help the body flush toxins
Supplements to consider in support of the diet recommendations include:
- Vitamin C
- Fish Oil
On the lifestyle front:
- Stay indoors first thing in the morning and on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a rain
- Stay away from cut grass and hand over the gardening chores for the spring
- Get at least 7-8 hours of good quality sleep
- Use a Neti Pot for nasal irrigation
- Try acupuncture to relieve your respiratory distress
Take the time now to prepare your body for the spring time so that you too can enjoy the riches of the season!