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Are you itching, sneezing, and sniffling this time of year? If so, it sounds like you’ve got a classic case of seasonal allergies! Seasonal allergies are a pain and discomfort at their least, and debilitating at their worst. Nothing ruins a delicious, Spring grill-out quite like allergies. One minute you’re grilling the chicken, the next you’re sneezing on it. Yuck! But, don’t you worry. It’s nothing a few natural remedies can’t help. It’s time to start healing allergies naturally!
Seasonal allergies are an immune response to local and seasonal pollen in the air. These triggers will produce IgE antibodies that signal immune molecules to release histamine, leading to inflammation and the classic allergy symptoms. Typically, they’re the worst during the Spring season when flowers bloom but can occur anytime.
When histamine builds up within the body (without being properly broken down), an allergic reaction occurs: sneezing, congestion, headaches, itchy eyes, swelling, etc. These symptoms often leave you feeling fatigued and can really alter your quality of life. This is why helping the body effectively manage histamine levels is key!
There are many common factors and causes of persistent seasonal allergies, including diet and lifestyle choices. Many different factors can cause allergies like mold, dust, animal fur, fragrances, and pollen. The main culprit of seasonal allergies however, is poor gut health. When the gut barrier is weak, you’ll likely experience a super-sized reaction to histamines, resulting in allergies to everything under-the-sun- environmental and otherwise. This explains why those with autoimmunity often struggle with allergies, as well. As we know, the gut houses 80% of our immune system, so it’s no wonder a weak gut leads to extreme immune reactions within the body (AKA allergies). For this reason, maintaining a healthy gut microbiome and lining is critical for allergy sufferers!
In addition to the health of your gut, there are many triggers that can make your allergies feel worse, including:
Needless to say, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a key factor in managing histamine release and providing allergy relief.
If you suffer from allergies, you might be wondering why they’ve gotten worse over the years. In fact, seasonal allergies where’t much of an issue decades ago. Here are 5 reasons why we are seeing a rise in allergy symptoms each year.
Conventional allergy treatment consists of over-the-counter antihistamines, corticosteroids, inhalers, and more. Ultimately, these treatment methods reduce symptoms, but do not address the root cause of allergies. They work temporarily by inhibiting histamine production. Not only that, but they can also do more damage to the gut lining over time and cause irritation along the tissues.
Alternatively, healing allergies naturally addresses the root cause. Home remedies and other natural treatment methods (listed below) provide symptom relief, while also healing the root cause of allergies. In other words, these remedies naturally reduce the amount of histamine produced and reduces liver congestion.
Natural allergy treatment is effective, budget-friendly, and often delicious. Try out these home remedies for yourself:
As mentioned above, packaged, processed, refined foods can create an increased histamine response as they are pro-inflammatory in nature. In addition, allergy sufferers tend to present with more nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, adopting a whole food, high quality, nutrient dense diet, can be a game changer. It directly impacts our immune system! The goal with your diet is to avoid additives, excess sugars, and anything known to be inflammatory for you. As always, it’s best to choose high quality and organic foods as much as possible to reduce GMOs and pesticide exposure that can make allergies a lot worse.
Eat more: grass-fed and finished meat, wild-caught fish, whole pasture-raised eggs, healthy fats and oils, organic nuts and seeds (but not peanuts and pistachios which can made allergies worse), and lots of seasonal fruits and veggies.
Just as high-histamine foods can worsen seasonal allergies, anti-histamine foods can provide relief. These foods will naturally reduce inflammation and work to strengthen the immune system as they naturally contain powerful antioxidants called quercetin and anthocyanins.
Eat more: berries, apples, citrus, cherries, grapes, broccoli, red onion, red cabbage, turmeric, parsley, thyme, chamomile, fennel, arugula, and ginger.
Additional Recommendation: Talk to your practitioner about some of the natural antihistamine supplements that contain quercetin, stinging nettle, vitamin C, and other helpful antioxidants.
Knowing your food sensitivities gives you a leg-up on your allergies because symptoms are often exacerbated by certain foods. Avoid all known food sensitivities, especially when your allergies flare. In addition, it’s wise to limit or eliminate all common inflammatory trigger foods during a flare, like gluten, daity, corn, and soy which all share a similar molecular protein structure. If you don’t know your sensitives, you can work with a practitioner to help you with an elimination diet. This can take a long time though and can lead to more frustration for some individuals.
Start with avoiding: gluten, dairy, soy, and corn. I also suggest doing a 7 day reset to clear the liver while reducing many common trigger foods for allergy sufferers. If you’ve never done a reset before, you can check out my quick and effective 7 Day Gut & Autoimmune Reset & Reboot and get started today.
Anti-inflammatory foods reduce overall inflammation within the body, resulting in a reduced histamine response. Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables are the best anti-inflammatory foods available due to their high levels of antioxidants.
Eat more: herbs and spices, quality mold free teas, superfood powders, blueberries, kale, beets, avocado, wild-caught salmon and sardines, coconut oil, chia seeds, and ginger.
Other ways to reduce inflammation due to allergies: walking, essential oils such as eucalyptus and frankincense, stress management, and anti-inflammatory supplements advised by your practitioner.
As you well know by now, a healthy gut and diverse microbiome is key to eliminating allergies. Having a “leaky gut” is one of the main drivers of immune-mediated conditions, including allergies since the microbiome directly impacts sinuses. Most individuals who have taken antibiotics throughout their lifetime will suffer with more severe forms of seasonal allergies.
Upgrade your gut protocol by eating plenty of gut-healthy foods that include probiotics, prebiotics, L-glutamine, enzymes and antioxidants. Work with a practitioner who can help you heal the gut the right way in order to remove any known triggers and root causes to a compromised gut. A gut healing protocol should ideally be customized.
Eat more: coconut kefir, bone broth, apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, green bananas (bananas that are not quite ripe), cooked vegetables, and garlic. Also, ask your health practitioner about supplementing with a spore-based probiotic. This is my favorite one!
Perceived stress predicts allergy flares and therefore, managing emotional stress is a big factor in reducing overall inflammation. You’ll probably notice when stress levels rise, so do your allergies. Adopt stress management techniques that work for you to provide symptom relief. Getting adequate sleep to reduce stress levels in the body and prevent an allergy flare is also important.
Try: yoga, deep breathing, prayer and medication, journaling, walking, being outside while barefoot, and keeping a consistent bedtime.
Manuka honey is packed with powerful antioxidants and contains an active compound called methylglyoxal. This active compound makes it extremely useful in fighting allergies. Try taking a spoonful every morning during allergy season. The key is to make sure your manuka honey contains live enzymes with a K factor above 16 if possible. In addition, consuming a few tablespoons per day of local honey (based on where you live) before allergy season kicks in can also help support your immune system so it recognizes the allergen which results in you tolerating the pollen in your area when everything ramps up. You can add both these types of honey to your oatmeal, tea, smoothies, yogurt, etc.
Consume more: Raw manuka and local honey.
Staying adequately hydrated helps wash away and excrete the allergens from your system. It also ensures daily detoxification which is important for histamine build up. Aim to drink at least half your bodyweight in ounces throughout the day.
Drink more: Filtered water, natural sparkling water, and small amounts of coconut water.
Eat more: Hydrating foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, and honeydew.
Cleaning up your home to remove irritants is essential for any allergy sufferer. Try to use natural cleaning supplies and cosmetics, along with fragrance-free detergents. Keeping your home clean, vacuuming, and dusting often is also important.
In addition to all that, purifying the air in your home using a HEPA filter is one of the best things you can do for allergy relief! Allergens are tracked into and trapped inside your home all day long. Meaning, you are exposed all day and night. My most trusted air purification system is Air Doctor. In addition to purifying your air, it might be helpful to shower after being outside, especially since pollen can accumulate on your clothes, body, and even in your hair.
It’s worth noting that allergens come in many forms–seasonal (pollen), food (gluten and dairy), and environmental (mold). If you’ve ever been a victim to seasonal allergies, you know just how uncomfortable they can be. The good news is we can improve and even eliminate symptoms naturally. Most of the time, allergies will occur as a result of a deeper dysfunction or imbalance in the body. When you treat the root cause of your allergies, you can kiss them good-bye for good!
If you still can’t find relief using these natural strategies, a targeted nutrition plan and evaluation through extensive functional medicine lab work might be your next best step.
If you need more guidance on identifying and treating your seasonal allergies, consider working with me to heal your gut and improve immunity, here.
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
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