Drastically Easing Seasonal Allergies with Lifestyle & Nutrition Tweaks
You can drastically improve your seasonal allergies with simple, all-natural and delicious home remedies.
Spring is in the air, meaning pollen galore! For roughly 1 in 5 Americans, this time of year is riddled with environmental allergy woes. Itchy, burning eyes, ears and throat all accompanied by lots and lots of mucous production. Between medications, treatments, doctor’s appointments and business related costs allergy related costs in America are estimated at $7.9 billion dollars annually.
A big component in the misery associated with allergies is the underlying inflammation in your body. That’s why the best and first line of defense in tackling seasonal allergies is to get your inflammation under control. The great news is that decreasing inflammation is amazing for your overall health as well, both long and short term.
Cut the Sugar
First thing first, if you want to stop inflammation in its tracks, cut the sugar. Easier said than done as 74% of food products in America have added sugar and on top of that sugar has been found to be more addictive than cocaine.
In addition to nixing the blatant culprits like sugar, candy, sweet breads and cookies, you must read labels. Sugar hides under many names and it doesn’t matter if it’s from an organic source, it’s still contributes to inflammation. Read all food labels for sugar, high fructose corn syrup, any type of syrup, cane sugar, dextrose, glucose, turbinado sugar or any of the 61 names that sugar goes by on food labels.
Removing added sugar from your life will not only reduce inflammation (and thus ease allergies), but it will also improve your gut health, your weight, your mood and even clear up your skin. Long term it’s great for every organ in your body.
Raw, Local Honey
However, there is one sugar that stands out from all the others and is worth keeping around because of its health benefits. This sweetness makes for a health swap to those other sweets and may help your allergies: raw, local honey.
Limit consumption to 1 tablespoon total a day, as more may actually have too much pollen and cause an adverse reaction. Anything beyond a tablespoon is also going to have the above mentioned detriments of added sugar. Food products with added honey will not yield these benefits. If you see it on a food label it’s added sugar, not healthy honey.
Do not use the raw, local honey to cook or bake with as heat will kill both the pollens and beneficial enzymes. Adding to a cup of hot coffee or tea won’t be hot enough to kill the beneficial properties of the honey.
While scientists are still trying to decipher if raw, local honey helps with allergies, many people swear by it. The theory is that because the honey is made from the very pollen that you’re allergic to, consuming the honey will help you build immunity to that pollen. The honey needs to be as local as possible and harvested in the same time of year as the pollens giving you woes.
The proven benefits of honey are that it coats and soothes your irritated throat plus contains beneficial enzymes, antioxidants, and antimicrobial properties. Raw honey has been found to have an inhibitory effect (kills, diminishes or slow the growth of) over 60 pathogenic bacteria. It also happens to slay a variety of fungi and viruses. Taking out bad bacteria, fungi and viruses may be yet another way honey eases allergies.
It takes time for the effects of honey to be seen, so begin taking it as soon as you know allergies are coming on. Don’t fret if your allergies have already set in, it’s never too late to begin building your defense up.
Turmeric contains a powerful anti-inflammatory agent called curcumin. Over 6,000 of peer-reviewed scientific articles have shown benefits of turmeric curcumin. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties and the downpour of research showing just how toxic inflammation is, turmeric is all the rage right now. Don’t be fooled by faux-health products with turmeric. The health benefits of turmeric don’t negate the detriments of added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.
To get the most out of turmeric pair it with black pepper because it boosts the curcumin in turmeric’s efficacy. There are plenty of ways beyond curry and golden milk lattes to enjoy turmeric. With its new found popularity, there’s no shortage of turmeric recipes to be found. If you don’t like the flavor of turmeric or don’t think that you could down roughly an inch of fresh turmeric or a tablespoon of ground turmeric daily, purchase a turmeric supplement that contains 500 to 1000 milligrams of cucuminoids.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Also winning the ancient health food popularity game these days is apple cider vinegar (ACV). It’s touting to helping with everything from dander, to clearing up acne, to blood glucose regulation and even to reducing allergies.
ACV’s ability to ease allergies may be due to boosting the lymphatic system, its potassium content breaking up mucous and/or its other health benefits that reduce inflammation. Remember, inflammation is truly what truly pushes allergies over the top.
If your body is already inflamed due to one reason, by the time pollen, dander and other environmental factors set off your allergies, it’s only going to get worse and create a continuous negative feedback loop.
Drink 1 tablespoon daily mixed in an 8 ounce glass of water or try adding apple cider vinegar to your recipes. The key is to make sure it’s raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized and with the mother.
Helpful hint: if it’s pets that are setting off your allergies spritz or rinse of your pup in dilute apple cider vinegar and add a few drops to the water. Much of what sets off your pet allergies is actually in their saliva. Adding ACV to their water helps them with their allergies too.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are renowned for their ability to improve respiratory health in individuals struggling with asthma or COPD. Because of their anti-inflammatory properties and demonstrated ability to help with other respiratory issues, it is thought that omega 3 fatty acids can ease the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
Consuming foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon or walnuts on a regular basis can help you get enough omega 3s to meet your basic needs, as well get what you need to decrease inflammation and boost respiratory health. For those with severe inflammation, intense seasonal allergies or aversions/allergies to foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, a supplement may be warranted.
Taking a quality probiotic supplement plus eating foods rich in probiotic nourishing fiber create a healthy gut microbe that in turn has a slew of health benefits such as improved mental health, weight loss, clear skin, improved immune system and even decreased signs and symptoms of allergies.
While science is still looking at the how and the why of probiotics role in helping with allergies, the fact that they do has been proven. Purchase a quality probiotic supplement, store it as directed and take as recommended. Pair that with a healthy diet free of added sugar and loaded with fruits and vegetables.
Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Strawberries, bell peppers, cantaloupe, citrus fruits and tomatoes are all loaded with vitamin C, nature’s antihistamine. Eating these foods can help cut back on the excess histamine from your allergies.
Foods rich in vitamin C also tend to be rich in vitamin A’s precursor beta-carotene, which keeps epithelial cells healthy, as well as boosts your overall immune system. Your epithelial cells are the cells that outline us, namely our skin, but also the cells that outline our eyes, ears, nose and throat. They’re your first defense against bacteria, viruses, fungus and the rest of the world.
The Overall Takeaway on Nutrition and Your Seasonal Allergies
It’s clear that decreasing inflammation is key to finding allergy relief. While making these nutritional changes won’t cure your allergies, they can significantly reduce your signs, symptoms and misery. Plus they all come with incredible health benefits and are delicious.
Sheila Amir is the Sheila of NutritionSheila.com, a pretty swell website dedicated to bringing you realistic health, nutrition and wellness information with a hint of wit.