How to Beat Allergy Season Naturally

Spring time for allergy sufferers means watery eyes, sneezing, congestion, and itchiness. Luckily there are several ways that naturopathic medicine can make spring a little easier.

Seasonal allergies develop when our immune systems mislabel common environmental particles as dangerous. Your immune system starts producing antibodies which triggers our mast cells and basophils (both are types of immune cells) to release histamine. Histamine causes irritation to our airways and skin, leading to sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion, rashes, and all your typical seasonal allergy symptoms. This is why you take “anti-histamines” like Claritin & Benadryl, to reduce the nasty effects of too much histamine.

Naturopathic medicine has a variety of natural anti-histamines that you can take instead or in addition to pharmaceutical options, however this is only half the battle. This only deals with the allergies after the fact. There are also ways that you can re-train your immune system to stop reacting so much to your environment.

Here is how to tackle seasonal allergies from a naturopathic approach:

1. Consider starting a high-strain, high quality probiotic

Your immune system begins in your gut. Having a healthy microbiome (the good bacteria that live in your gut) determines the health of your immune system. An unhealthy microbiome leads to an overactive immune system which can aggravate allergies.

Taking a probiotic can help shift your microbiome and help calm down your immune system so it is less reactive. Look for a probiotic with at least 10 billion CFUs and one that has a variety of different strains on the label. Lactobacillus paracasei and Bifidobacterium longum are both strains that have been well researched for seasonal allergies.

2. Reduce your triggers

Help out your immune system by avoiding additional potential triggers. Unless you are keen on staying indoors this spring and summer, the easiest place to reduce triggers is through your diet.

Refined sugars, gluten, and cow-based dairy are the most common immune triggers. I would recommend significantly reducing these foods in your daily diet. In particular, milk and packaged breads and snacks should be avoided as best as possible.

If this is challenging, focus instead on increasing your non-starchy vegetables. Vegetables, especially leafy greens, are anti-inflammatory and immune system modulators which means they help counteract the negative effects of the above mentioned trigger foods. You should be aiming for 7-9 servings of vegetables per day (1 serving = ¾ cup).

3. Re-train your immune system with hydrotherapy

Try constitutional showers on a daily basis. This involves standing in the shower for 60 seconds of hot water followed by 20 seconds of very cold water. Repeat the process 3-5 times, ending on cold water. This helps flush out histamine and has been shown to reduce immune system reactivity.

Another method of doing this is simply to start your day with a 2 minute cold shower!

4. Vitamin C, Quercetin, and Nettle leaf

This are the natural anti-histamines to consider during allergy season. For the best results, these should be started 4-6 weeks before your expected allergies hit.

Vitamin C can be taken in supplement form or you can get in through food. Peppers, chives, kale, citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C. Avoid these in juice form as the sugar is counterproductive to the anti-histamine effect.

Quercetin can be taken as a supplement and nettle leaf is available as both a supplement and in tea form!

As with any advice you read online, be sure to check with your health care provider before starting any supplements to ensure they are safe for you. If you are looking for more direction, a naturopathic doctor can provide advice that is specific and effective for you to have you feeling your best this allergy season!

Melissa Bucking, naturopath and acupuncture provider, believes in educating and empowering patients to achieve their health goals. She is dedicated to providing care that supports the whole body for safe and long-term results. Every treatment plan is tailored to your specific needs and goals! Come visit her at Health Centre of Milton

 

Tags