Managing Seasonal Allergies with Nutrition
So you might ask what do seasonal allergies have to do with nutrition? As it turns out, a great deal. About 25 years ago I was plagued with horrific seasonal and environmental allergies. All types of pollen, mold, dust, and also dogs and cats. So basically everything outside except the oxygen… and there were days that I wondered about that too. I was on every allergy medication known to man and was getting sicker and sicker. Along with the underlying allergies, I had allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, dysfunctional Eustachian tubes, and mild asthma. My immune system was basically dysfunctional and I was a mess. One of my doctors wanted to break my nose and Roto-Rooter my sinuses as a temporary fix for the inflammation in my nasal passages. I don’t think so!
One day I walked into my allergist’s office with yet another issue and he promptly got out his prescription pad to write me another prescription. That’s when I said NO MORE! I asked him if we could fall back and regroup. The treatments were not working and my sinuses were completely addicted to the nasal sprays. His response was that I didn’t understand how serious my condition was. He was wrong. I did understand and all too clearly. So I got up and walked out of his office. After much research, I started working with an herbalist, a chiropractor, and an acupuncturist. Interestingly enough all three recommended dietary changes and supplements to complement their protocols. Not one of my many doctors over the years ever made any suggestion that diet, along with a host of other natural and supportive therapies, could have any effect on my allergies.
It took 6 months to wean off all my medications as these practitioners slowly rebuilt my immune system. Along with the dietary changes I made, these therapies worked amazingly well. The headaches I suffered from almost daily, stopped almost immediately. I could breathe. I could sneeze (I know that one sounds odd but all the medication turned off the sneezing but didn’t allow a sneeze to clear out my nasal passages and relieve the sinus pressure). I was feeling better! Fast forward to the present and I haven’t had an asthma symptom in all these years, I take no medication, and barely even know I have any allergies. Wonderful!
Your body has innate ability to heal given the right tools. Everyone is different but if you are plagued by allergies and sinusitis, I can offer a few suggestions to get you started on a healing journey:
1) Remove all dairy from your diet. Dairy is mucus forming. So if you have stuffy sinuses, post nasal drip, running nose, sinus pain and pressure, congested lungs and airways, this is a must. You need to remove 100% of all animal-derived dairy.
2) Vitamin C – this simple vitamin is actually a natural antihistamine. Your dosage can vary but most start at 500-1000 mg every day. Purchase one that also contains bioflavonoids.
3) Food sensitivities – there are often underlying food sensitivities that could be causing or exacerbating your symptoms. I’ve worked with many individuals where identifying food sensitivities was so helpful in their healing process for seasonal allergies.
3) Neti pot – this ancient and simple device is wonderful for rinsing the nasal passages and clearing the mucus, allergens, and particulates from these passages. It works. Use it several times per day. Whatever it takes to clear things out and keep them clear. Be sure to follow instructions carefully.
4) The gut is so important to immune function. 70% of the immune system resides in your gut so if you’re not eating the best diet to support a healthy gut, your immune system cannot fully heal. Eating a clean, healthful diet is critical. Adequate dietary fiber helps establish and maintain diversity in probiotic bacteria. Eating fermented foods is so therapeutic in maintaining that diversity. Foods like kimchi, miso, kombucha, sauerkraut, and tempeh are excellent additions.
5) Essential oils – there are a host of essential oils to support a body plagued with allergies. Rosemary is one of my favorites for its anti-inflammatory properties.
With allergies, I have found, through my own experiences and assisting others with their allergies, that supporting the body and giving it the tools to heal is so vital to wellness. We are all unique in what we need to heal but these are just a few of the many natural therapies that can assist in not only your plate journey but your wellness journey as well.