Relieving Seasonal Allergies
With the start of spring already here, we will soon start to see the annual rise of seasonal related allergies, and if you want to avoid symptoms, it is critical to take preventative action as soon as possible.
The most typical spring allergens that affect the body are from grass, weed and tree pollens, which when inhaled cause some people to react. The mast cells in the lining of the nose release histamine and tryptase - chemicals that trigger symptoms of hay fever, including a runny nose, sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes.
For many, seasional allergies can severely affect quality of life, affecting sleep, work productivity, and potentially triggering diseases with an allergic component, like asthma, dermatitis and chronic nasal congestion. While over the counter medications are readily available and can bring immediate relief, they can often come with unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness, leading many people to seek out natural remedies to alleviate symptoms. Because of the complexity of allergies, in particular the relationship between our genes, gut, and environment, it is important to understand what the underlying causes are and why the body is reacting to particular environmental stimuli.
The good news is there is a number of ways that you can support your immune system during allergy season, in particular through diet, to reduce allergic potential and severity.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and a great anti-inflammatory, which can protect against cell damage and support immune system function. Ascorbic acid is vital for optimal immune system function, with research reporting low levels of vitamin C may present a risk factor for asthma. Vitamin C intake can be boosted through eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Vitamin D is a regulatory factor in the immune system, with many immune diseases being related to low Vitamin D levels. Research has shown that low vitamin D may be associated with higher rates of allergic rhinitis. So, by increasing your vitamin D exposure, through exposure to sunlight and diet, may help to support the immune system in reducing allergic triggers.
Probiotics contain various strains and combinations that can affect gut microbial populations, supporting a broad range of immune capacities. Increases in probiotic bacteria within the gut have been associated with protection against allergic diseases. If you suffer from hay fever, perhaps consider taking a probiotic supplement during allergy season months to help support the gut and immune capacity, making sure it contains the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria combination.
Curcumin is the active component found in turmeric, which has natural anti-inflammatory properties. It has been associated with reductions in symptoms linked to many inflammatory- driven diseases and may minimise associated swelling and irritation caused by allergic rhinitis. Animal studies using curcumin have reported a marked inhibition of allergic responses, suggesting a promising role for curcumin in potentially reducing allergic responses.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid, found naturally in onions, broccoli, apples, honey, raspberries, and other food sources. It is a strong antioxidant that is an effective inhibitor of histamine, providing support in inflammatory and allergic conditions. Including foods high in quercetin is a must during allergy season.
Tips to help minimise seasonal allergies:
Work with a trusted health practitioner to develop an effective allergy pre-treatment strategy.
Start preventative treatment early, at least a month before allergy season starts.
Include practical ways to avoid environmental allergens: including regular cleaning of heating and cooling vents, keeping windows closed on high pollen count days, wearing protective wear such as masks and gloves when working outdoors, and stay indoors when pollen levels are high.
Get allergy tested, to better undestand what allergens may be triggering you.
Investigate digestive issues, as this may be triggering your allergic potential.