Do you suffer from spring allergies? If the answer is yes, then you know first-hand the havoc allergens can cause on a person’s life. Acting like foreign invaders, allergens enter your body through mucous membranes found in your nose and respiratory tract. When allergens attack, the body responds by releasing histamine, leading to annoying allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, cough, and sometimes changes in breathing. Of course, this can negatively impact overall productivity, sleep, and mood.
Here are four practical ways you can reduce the inflammation and reactivity that happens when you are trying to fight spring allergies:
1. Follow a Non-Allergenic Diet
With your immune system in overactive mode, it’s best to not consume a diet that will cause additional problems. Reducing the consumption of foods such as wheat, dairy, and sugar, while increasing whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean proteins, can go a long way in reducing inflammation and allergy-type symptoms.
2. Support Intestinal Health
When dealing with allergies, supporting your gut or digestive health is important. Your gut acts as a barrier to the outside world and has bacteria and immune cells that protect you from allergic reactions. Including prebiotic food sources such as garlic and onions, and probiotic foods such as kefir, miso, and sauerkraut, are simple dietary measures that can be easily implemented to support the digestive system.
For additional support, probiotic supplements can introduce beneficial bacteria that temporarily modifies gut microbiome.
3. The Ongoing Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish and fish oil supplements provide two important components known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have anti-inflammatory actions. Inflammation can contribute to a number of health concerns, and research has shown these fatty acids can mediate several parameters of inflammation.
Inhibition of the production of eicosanoids (such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes) from arachidonic acid, inhibiting inflammatory cytokines, and promoting production of anti-inflammatory and inflammation-resolving mediators called resolvins and protectins, are just a few ways omega-3 fatty acids help mediate a healthy inflammation response in the body.
4. Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids
Vitamin C, an important antioxidant, has the ability to stabilize mast cells (those cells that release histamine leading to sneezing, a runny nose, and itchiness!). Reduce allergy symptoms by making mast cells less reactive with the use of vitamin C, along with bioflavonoids.
Nasal lavages, steam inhalations, air purifiers, keeping doors and windows closed, and having hardwood floors instead of carpet, are other key ways to support the body and reduce allergy symptoms this year. Take the time to determine what will work for you so you can enjoy this season we have waited all winter long for!