DIET, HERBS & LIFESTYLE SUPPORT FOR SEASONAL ALLERGIES
As the trees and flowers begin to bloom, unpleasant allergy symptoms are on the rise. While pollen and spores may actually be completely harmless, our body identifies these triggers as harmful and sends out immune antibodies to protect against these foreign invaders. An allergic reaction is the body’s response to a perceived threat, and those with compromised immunity, imbalanced gut flora, or excessive stress will tend to have an increase in allergies as these factors increase inflammation and reduce our protective mechanisms. Everyone experiences allergies differently. Some of the most common symptoms include sneezing, sinus pain, brain fog, congestion, runny nose, itchy & watery eyes, and itchy + irritated skin.
The integration of a few herbs and supplements plus simple diet changes can do wonders for relieving symptoms, strengthening immunity, and regulating our inflammation response. Learn how to alleviate symptoms and ease into this flower-filled season.
Avoid dairy and sugar - Both dairy and sugar promote inflammation in the body, which can trigger or increase allergic reactions. During allergy season, eliminating dairy and sugar from your diet can dramatically reduce symptoms.
Try: natural alternatives such as almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk & natural sweeteners like coconut sugar and raw honey.
Eliminate allergenic foods - when you have a food sensitivity, your body releases histamines and inflammatory antibodies to regulate your allergic response. Avoiding allergenic trigger foods reduces inflammation and eases your response during allergy season.
Try: identifying food sensitivities. If you’re unsure, some of the most common food sensitivities are dairy, wheat, gluten, soy, corn, and peanuts. Try cutting these out of your diet and then slowly re-introducing them. Another helpful option is to get comprehensive food allergy testing from your doctor or allergist.
Decrease/ Limit High Histamine Foods - if you are experiencing aggressive allergy symptoms and want fast relief, decreasing the amount of high histamine & histamine releasing foods in your diet will really help.
For 2-4 weeks, decrease or eliminate: coffee, chocolate, alcohol, fermented foods, citrus, dairy, red meat, chamomile tea, dried fruit & nuts as well as high-histamine/histamine releasing foods like bananas, avocado, tomatoes, eggplant, strawberries, and spinach.
Try: Adding in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, gluten-free grains like quinoa & brown rice, milk alternatives, organic pasture-raised poultry, wild caught fish and lots of fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and cilantro.
Herbs for Allergies
Stinging Nettle Leaf - nettle is a natural histamine blocker, slowing the allergic response.
Try: sipping on some nettle leaf tea a few times daily. You can make a nettle infusion by adding loose leaf dried nettle to a mason jar, covering it with cold water + a lid overnight.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil - is one of the best for seasonal allergies. It helps open the airways, reduce headaches and support the respiratory system.
Try: adding some eucalyptus oil to a diffuser in your home or office or add a few drops to your daily shower.
Supplements for Allergies
Bee Pollen - Allergies are triggered by the increase of histamine in our bodies and bee pollen is an amazing natural anti-histamine.
Try: 1-3 tsp daily sprinkled on dishes, such as; smoothies, oatmeal, and salads.
Local Raw Honey - Similar to bee pollen, local honey exposes our body to some of the pollens in the area and may help the body build up a tolerance to local allergens.
Try: 1-2 tbsp of unpasteurized raw local honey daily.
Probiotics - To diminish the frequency and/or severity of the reactions, having good bacteria in the gut is crucial! When looking for probiotics, look for blends that contain Bifidobacteria infantis, Bifidobacteria longum, Lactobacillus Plantarum, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus which are some of the most helpful probiotics for allergies.
Try: supplementing with a probiotic daily.
Spirulina - particularly good for hay fever, spirulina can reduce allergy symptoms, such as itchy eyes, runny nose, dry nose, and mucus buildup. It seems to be effective in reducing inflammation and helping to modulate the immune system.
Try: adding spirulina powder to smoothies or taking spirulina in capsule form.
Omega-3 Fish Oil - Omega-3 is a potent anti-inflammatory fat that can help reduce symptoms of allergies. It’s also helpful to reduce inflammatory fats, such as Omega-6 fatty acids plus saturated and trans fats, during allergy season to reduce inflammation.
Try: supplementing with 1200 mg of combined EPA/DHA Omega-3 daily.
Quercetin - is a bioflavonoid (plant compound) that acts as a natural antihistamine and antioxidant. It can help to reduce symptoms of allergies and keep inflammation down.
Try: Look for bioavailable options and supplement with higher doses daily during allergy season. *speak to your holistic practitioner about how to use + combine this supplement.
NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) - is an antioxidant that is used as a natural allergy remedy. NAC is a precursor to glutathione which helps fight off free-radicals. It also works as an expectorant which thins out mucus, in turn, helping to reduce congestion.
Try: Taking 300 mg 2-3 times a day.
Natural D-Hist - the perfect option that blends many of the above recommendations. This supplement contains flavonoids, antioxidants, proteolytic enzymes, and botanicals designed to support seasonal allergies. It includes bromelain, stinging nettle leaf, quercetin, and N-acetyl cysteine, and together they promote healthy nasal and sinus passages for people with elevated histamine and respiratory irritation.
Try: 2 capsules, 3x/day for 7-10 days and then reduce to 2 capsules per day.
One supplement is generally not effective for decreasing high histamine & seasonal allergy response. It’s best to work with a holistic practitioner to find a combination that works best for you & your body.
Manage Stress - Stress increases overall inflammation and places an extra burden on the body, eventually depleting the adrenal glands, resulting in lowered immunity, extreme exhaustion, and poor digestive function.
Try: stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises. If you’ve been in a constant state of stress for a long time - plan a vacation with complete tech-break and plenty of time in nature to reset.
Get plenty of Exercise - helps to increase circulation, clear the lymphatic system, and helpings to increase immunity.
Try: exercising daily for at least 30 minutes. If exercising outdoors is too difficult due to allergies, move your workout inside and treat your body kindly. If you’re overly stressed gravitate towards activities like walking, hiking, and restorative yoga.
Deep Sleep - is essential for optimal health. By ensuring we get enough sleep every night, we enhance our immunity and support our body in daily repair.
Try: sleeping for at least 7-8 hours each night and do your best to get to bed before midnight. Ideal times for restorative rest are between 10-2, so try for a 10-6 or 11-7 sleep schedule.
Try Acupuncture - Acupuncture restores the flow of energy, increases our circulation and enhances our immune response.
Try: 1-2 acupuncture sessions per week if you’re experiencing constant symptoms.
Improve/Heal Digestive System - Leaky gut and dysbiosis can exacerbate allergy symptoms. The immune system begins in the gut. By supporting gut health and healing, we can reduce our body’s allergic response to common allergens. If you’ve been experiencing unruly digestive system issues, reach out to a holistic practitioner for support.
Air Filtration System - seasonal allergies can affect us indoors when we have windows open or bring pollen in on our clothes and in our pet’s fur.
Try: investing in a quality indoor air purifier and closing windows during peak allergy times.