Spring has sprung. ACHOO!
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? You’re not alone. It is estimated that 40 – 60 million North Americans experience some form of allergic rhinitis (hay fever or seasonal allergies).
The most common allergy is ragweed. But ragweed season doesn’t start until August in Canada and many of you are already getting down with that tissue box!
What do you do to manage spring time pollen beyond over-the-counter anti-histamines and puffers? Do you use any natural remedies?
In my family, ironically, I don’t have hay fever (and I’m the “allergic” one). It’s my son. While we do use some medication to help him manage the six to eight weeks of pure hell he goes through, this year, we are incorporating some supplements and essential oils into the regime. We are also working on GUT HEALTH and diet. Gut health is a topic that you are going to learn more about in the upcoming articles, but for now, I cover briefly below.
Read on to learn about three must-have supplements, a supportive diet, essential oils and some lifestyle support to help you better control your allergies.
Three Key Supplements For Seasonal Allergies
Quercetin is a wonder micronutrient for those who have allergies. It is a powerful bioflavonoid that helps reduce your allergic response. It's an anti-oxidant and anti-viral and a good support for bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis (runny nose).
Vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine and immune booster. In fact, research shows that a high dose vitamin C reduces allergic response. However, be mindful. During my time at Higher Health, I learned that the body can only absorb 200mg of vitamin C at a time, so you’re better off to divide your doses throughout the day. Another option is to try IV supplementation to help you get through the season. Here, you can receive a mega dose that goes straight into your bloods stream.
Over 80% of your immunity is found in your gut … an unhealthy or imbalanced gut equals a compromised immune system, worsening your allergic response. Probiotics help improve the immunity in your intestinal tract and strengthen your gut lining – a delicate and important barrier to the outside world. Strong inside skin means a strong immune system.
Food Can Help Or Hurt Your Allergies
Certain foods can make your seasonal allergies worse! Take note of key triggers and replace them with foods that are known to support your immune system and allergic response.
Key foods to limit or avoid include gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, chocolate and peanuts. These are also key triggers to avoid with an autoimmune disease and chronic inflammation.
Many people with ragweed allergies don’t realize that melons, bananas, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, echinacea (often in cold formulas) and chamomile are actually from the same family and can make symptoms worse!
Not to worry, there are LOTS of food you can enjoy that are supportive and healing. Raw local honey tops the list – even my son’s medical doctor recommended this! Other foods to incorporate include bone broth (my favourite), pineapple (anti-inflammatory) and food that is high in Omega 3s to help reduce inflammation (fish/seafood, grass-fed beef, leafy greens, hemp hearts, chia).
And if you're not keen on supplements, here are food sources for quercetin, vitamin C and probiotics:
Quercetin: leafy greens, broccoli, red onions, peppers, apples, grapes, black and green tea
Vitamin C: guava, parsley, leafy greens, yellow peppers, blackcurrants, kiwi, broccoli, lemon (and more)
Probiotics: sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut kefir
Eight Oils To Reduce Allergies
Essential oils are being used more and more at home and by health care practitioners as a first-line defence in natural health. So, I reached out to my colleague, Carly Cooper, to advise on what essential oils are best for allergies.
These oils are all safe for diffusing or for topical use. You can put 5 drops in a diffuser, try a drop on the skin, or mix the oils with a carrier, like a fractionated coconut oil. If you have sensitive skin, it’s important to use a carrier oil. The goal is to reduce irritation.
According to Carly, lavender, peppermint and lemon make an amazing anti-histamine trio. I think I might make a custom blend for my son (I already have these at home). To follow are the benefits of these oils and others.
Peppermint helps unclog sinuses and discharges phlegm. It helps open up the airways and relieve head tension. Bye-bye headache and snotty nose.
Lemon also decongests and reduces mucus. It helps improve the lymphatic flow of the body, further reducing inflammation at the cellular level.
Basil can help kill bacteria, mold and yeast which can worsen allergic symptoms. It supports your adrenals … your stress glands that become overworked when you have long periods of allergies.
Eucalyptus helps open airways so you can breathe better and improve your circulation.
Tea Tree Oil kills mould and bacteria. This is one of the reasons why parents add to their childrens’ shampoos before camp or doctors advise you put on your toes, if you have a some funky yellow colour down there.
Lavender acts as an antihistamine and calms irritation. It also calms the skin, if it's itchy.
Rosemary reduces inflammation and supports adrenal glands (your stress glands).
Blue Tansy acts as an antihistamine and calms irritation.
Lifestyle And Allergies
Just like most of my articles, I’m including some super simple lifestyle tips to round out dietary content. Here are four options to consider when allergies are getting the best of you:
Unmanaged STRESS can make allergy symptoms worse! Keep your stress levels in check and refer back to some stress management techniques I’ve already shared with you.
Have a shower before bed. Remove the pollen from your skin and hair. You will feel MUCH better in the morning.
Stay hydrated – this helps expel excess mucous
Acupuncture - the ancient and incredibly amazing way to manage stress and inflammation. I know a GREAT acupuncturist if you're need!
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