The arrival of spring is just around the corner! Spring conveys images of warmer weather, longer days and nature coming alive. But for many, it can also mean seasonal allergies. Some of the most irritating symptoms can include itchy eyes, sneezing, and congestion. It’s hard to enjoy soaking up the warm sun when your nose won’t stop running!
The first step to tackling seasonal allergies is to understand what causes them.
Allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to an external, but harmless factor – in this case, pollen. As spring approaches, there’s more pollen in the air. In an effort to fight the pollen, your body produces histamine, which then causes your allergy symptoms.
If your immune system is already compromised, your body will try to defend itself from even the slightest invasion, meaning it will produce more histamine. But if your immune system is supported and balanced, it’s less likely to overreact when it encounters a harmless foreign substance like pollen.
While over-the-counter antihistamine medications may provide short-term relief, they can also come with irritating side effects and fail to address the underlying issues. Below are six tips for supporting your immune system and keeping seasonal allergies at bay, so you can actually enjoy the warmer days ahead.
Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV helps to boost the immune system, helps to break up mucus and supports lymphatic drainage. Three times per day, mix 1 tablespoon of ACV with 1 tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a half-tablespoon of local raw honey and drink. Or just add some to your favorite homemade salad dressing recipe – you might not even notice it’s there! If you’re really brave, simply mix a tablespoon of ACV with warm water and cinnamon.
Avoid mucus forming foods such as dairy, sugars, gluten, caffeinated beverages and foods you’re sensitive to. This also limits the burden on your immune system.
Probiotics: Over 70% of your immune system is in your gut. As you now know, a healthy immune system is the key to combating seasonal allergies. By taking a high-quality probiotic and adding gut-healing foods to your diet, you can give your immune system the support it needs.
Nettle Tea: Another oldie but goodie, nettles have been used for centuries to beat a variety of ailments. Studies show they’re particularly helpful for combating seasonal allergies by helping reduce the amount of histamine that your body produces, meaning fewer symptoms and more time to enjoy the warm weather!
Quercetin is a natural anti-histamine without the side effects of many medications! Quercetin actually calms the immune system to reduce or prevent histamine release. It also has the ability to heal leaky gut, which is especially helpful for folks who have allergies/sensitivities because of the immune insults that having a leaky gut allow. Be cautious using quercetin, however, if you’re already taking blood thinners (e.g. Coumadin, Plavix, or daily aspirin) or on antibiotics.
Neti Pot: A Neti Pot is a great way to “spring clean” your nasal cavity. By rinsing your nasal cavity with warm distilled water and a saline solution, you can help clear your sinuses of allergens and relieve congestion. Heather enjoys using Xlear which is a saline/xylitol nasal rinse. The xylitol adds an extra moisturizer and cleansing agent to the mix and is one of the effective nasal rinses Heather has found. Xlear can be found at standard pharmaceutical stores such as CVS.
As Dr. Weil states, “the immune system bridges the mind-body connection, and addressing daily stress and a negative mindset towards irritants can completely resolve long-standing allergies. (Sneezing a few times during allergy season is normal and simply the body’s way of clearing irritants from the upper respiratory tract. If this is the extent of your symptoms, don’t adopt the mindset that you need treatment, or be convinced by TV ads that would have you believe suffer from allergies.)”
Seasonal allergies are a nuisance, but they are a message from the body asking us to take a deeper look into what might be causing the hypervigilance. With some investigation, deep self care and experimentation, you can lessen your allergy symptoms and/or alleviate them completely.
Interested in resolving your allergy symptoms for good? Join us for our next monthly webinar series, Surviving Seasonal Allergies on April 8th at 10:00am CST.
This blog post is for informational and educational purposes. It’s not meant to treat any health condition or to be prescriptive for anyone.
Always be sure to work with your healthcare practitioner before implementing new recommendations and/or supplements.