An allergy is an inflammatory immune response triggered by eating certain foods, touching certain substances, or inhaling an irritant such as pollen. When the body encounters a foreign substance, it can react by making antibodies or by releasing certain chemicals called histamines.
Seasonal allergies to pollen, spores, mold, and dust (also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis) affect the respiratory system and are usually the most difficult to control. Symptoms of hay fever are sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes and nose, and headache.
Hay fever is often seasonal (when pollen is in the air), but if constantly exposed to an offending substance, such as pet dander, symptoms can last year-round.
Examples of natural treatments for seasonal allergies include one-on-one counseling and education on lifestyle changes, mind-body therapies such as yoga and meditation, and dietary changes.
Recommended dietary changes may include drinking plenty of water, and recommending some of the following foods:
- Deep yellow and orange vegetables (high in beta-carotene, natural fighter of histamine)
- Dark green, leafy vegetables (good source of vitamin A)
- Cabbage (blood cleansing, can promote production of antioxidants)
- Beet tops, beets (high in vitamins A and C, magnesium)
- Onions (good source of vitamins A and C, help to drain mucous and loosen phlegm)
- Garlic (powerful antioxidant)
- Ginger (blood cleansing, helps digestive health)
- Cayenne (high in vitamins A, C, B-Complex)
- Horseradish (clears congested sinuses)
Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients (aka orthomolecular supplementation) that may help reduce symptoms of seasonal allergies may include:
- Bioflavonoids (natural antihistamines and strongly anti-allergenic)
- Probiotics (improves digestion, which can impact allergic response)
- Vitamin A (high in betacarotene, which works to boost the immune system, helping to naturally fight off the histamine or allergy response to specific allergens)
- Vitamin B-Complex (can help to reduce allergy symptoms by half)
- Vitamin C (acts as a mild antihistamine)
- Vitamin E (antioxidant that can help boost and increase the effect of the immune system.)
- Magnesium (helps make breathing easier)
This is not an exhaustive list. Additional recommendation can be made, depending on the severity of your individual case.
Link to Food Allergies?
When dealing with seasonal allergies, it is important to rule out any food allergies or intolerance that may be triggering allergenic reactions. Any food may be an allergen, particularly if it contains pesticides and has been exposed to chemical sprays. These may affect several body systems, with the gastrointestinal, nervous, respiratory and skin areas most often affected.
Allergenic foods frequently eliminated from the diet include:
- Alcohol (triggers migraines)
- Caffeine (triggers migraines, promotes hay fever)
- Dairy products (promote hay fever)
- Bananas and citrus fruit (can trigger eczema)
- Food colorings (can bring about childhood allergies)
- Peanuts (promote hay fever, can trigger hives)
- Red meat (can bring about childhood allergies)
- heat (can promote gluten allergies if introduced too soon to the body; can trigger asthma, headaches, and hay fever)
For more information on the food-allergy connection, or a personalized plan to reduce your allergenic symptoms (seasonal or not), book an appointment with a health provider at MIM by calling (905)294-2335.