By Danielle Lebon, Nutritionist
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? The runny nose and itchy, watery eyes that feels swollen. Or do you fight them year round because of food choices and dust in your surroundings? Allergies can even affect your attention and leaving you feeling foggy and less alert. An allergy implies any allergic substance that can trigger a reaction. In fact, this only demonstrates that our bodies have lost their normal ability to cope appropriately with that substance. The substance itself you are allergic to is not the cause; rather it is the trigger of the allergic response. Whether it’s hayfever, grass or pollen, there is something you can do about it, naturally.
First we need to look at you as whole. We are all born with our “barrel” – a combination of genetics/hereditary and environmental contributors, as well as our diet, lifestyle and stress level. All this adds up in our barrel. If we have lots of stress, are not eating as well as we can be, plus there is a family history of allergies, this fills up that barrel and can overflow, leading to the symptoms we experience. Even the chemicals we expose ourselves to (shampoos, antiperspirants, make-up, and hair products, household cleaning products and, the list goes on!) add to that full barrel.
We can make our barrel larger, thereby helping our bodies cope more efficiently with the added stresses we experience. Make slow changes. Replace your household cleaners with environmentally friendly choices, with brands such as Ecover or Simply Clean. Look into purchasing shampoos and soaps that don’t contain Sulfates, parabens and other hormone disrupting chemicals.
Improving your nutrition will help your immune system with the proper nutrients it needs to fight the allergies and various symptoms. Avoid foods that are commonly linked to allergies like dairy, wheat and processed foods as well lowering your alcohol and caffeine consumption also aids your body’s immune response. Include foods that are alkaline such as dark, green leafy vegetables, apple cider vinegar, and fresh lemon juice in warm water.
There are even supplements that can facilitate your body’s response to the histamine released during an allergic reaction. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that prevents inflammation and reduces the release of histamine. Vitamin C and the bioflavonoid curcumin have shown to have great anti-inflammatory actions. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are known powerful inhibitors of inflammation – GLA and EPA from EPA rich microalgae. Minerals to incorporate into your diet should include Zinc for its immune boosting benefits. A Selenium deficiency can result in less resistance to all infections and Magnesium (my personal favourite) is linked to a competent immune system and protein synthesis!