We develop allergies when a substance enters our body that is seen as a threat. It then attacks and marks this substance as an (IgE) antibody, which the body will recognize and proceed the same way when this substance is found again. Allergies develop over time, can come and go, and their severity can vary greatly. As the climate has changed, seasonal allergens are becoming more abundant. Add that to the year round allergens such as pet dander, mold, food, and chemicals, and we can see why allergy rates have increased nearly 6% in four years.
One symptoms of chronic allergies is “allergic asthma”. It presents as wheezing, shortness of breath, tightening of the chest and difficulty breathing. Other allergy symptoms include post-nasal drip, itchy eyes, excessive sneezing, and skin reactions. These symptoms can wear us down which impairs our ability to heal as this adds more stress to our immune system. With most of our immune system is located in our gut, our diet can be a particularly useful tool in helping lessen the severity of allergic reactions and allergy symptoms.
There are many foods that can help boost our immunity and aid in warding off allergens. Local raw honey can be used to help clear up infections and desensitize us to some of the pollen in the area. Apple cider vinegar helps break up mucus and supports lymphatic drainage to remove toxins. Pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain that can help reduce allergic reactions. Proteins such as wild-caught salmon are high in omega-3’s which help reduce inflammation and boost our immune system. Spirulina, which is derived from algae, and quercetin, a powerful antioxidant, can be supplemented to reduce histamine production and release. Finally, additional probiotic foods like sauerkraut and kimchi can boost intestinal flora and increase the function of the immune system.
In addition to adding in immune-boosting foods, we can also begin to minimize and remove harmful allergens and toxins in our daily life. Removing foods in which we know we react to will be paramount to seeing reduced allergy symptoms. Food reactions can look like gas, bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, as well as allergy symptoms listed above. Removing these foods until the gut can be repaired and then adding them back in slowly should reduce or eliminate sensitivities. Year round allergens can also easily be reduced. By reading the labels of products we are buying and reducing our exposure to chemicals, we will lessen the stress on our immune system in constantly fighting them off. Be weary that fragrances are often some of the highest in chemicals, if you choose to use scented products or perfume, check to see if they are naturally scented with pure essential oils.
When it comes to allergies, supporting our immune system and removing stressors is an effective way to reduce symptoms and reactions to allergens. If our goal is to ward off the nursing home and be fit for life, we have to be cognizant of the effects that allergens have on our bodies. Picking a place to start is key, as allergens can be everywhere. Whether we start with a food elimination diet, get some allergen-specific testing, or start changing over personal care and household products to non-toxic versions, small steps will start to improve our health in no time. Let’s not let allergies be the reason why we can’t enjoy outdoor activities this summer, or the rest of the year!
McCoy, Kathleen. “Natural Ways to Treat Seasonal Allergy Symptoms.” Dr. Axe, 9 Aug. 2018, draxe.com/seasonal-allergy-symptoms/.
Platts-Mills, Thomas A E, and Judith A Woodfolk. “Allergens and Their Role in the Allergic Immune Response.” Immunological Reviews, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21682738.