As featured in our Glow Spring Newsletter
Spring is around the corner, and as the natural world comes back to life with flowers blooming, pollens blowing and grass growing, it can create uncomfortable symptoms for some people. It can mean endless sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, sinus pressure, watery eyes, itchy skin and difficulty breathing. For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, these symptoms make it difficult to go outside and enjoy the warm weather. Allergies are due to the body’s inability to normalize the immune response to non-harmful substances. As a result, it leads to the release of histamine from the cells and causes inflammation and swelling of the mucous membranes. From a body perspective allergies are mainly due to 5 things:
-The liver unable to clean the blood effectively
-Imbalance of gut flora (dysbiosis), intestinal inflammation or leaky gut syndrome
-Imbalanced immune system
To combat allergies year round and prevent seasonal allergies consider the following:
Cleaning the Liver
The liver is one of the major filters in our body and is responsible for 100+ chemical reactions. Some of these are breaking down and neutralizing toxins in our environment and food. With the increase of pollutants in the air, water and food supply cleansing is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. In Chinese medicine, the liver is the basis of the immune system and makes immune factors. Sour and bitter foods are the flavours for the liver / gallbladder and assist the cleansing process.
Sour foods for the liver include: apple cider vinegar, lemon, lime and grapefruit.
Bitter foods include: rye, romaine lettuce, asparagus, amaranth, quinoa, and citrus peel.
Foods that support the liver: cabbage, sauerkraut, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, dandelion greens, Swiss chard, beets, red peppers, garlic, onions, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, spirulina, whole grains, flaxseed oil, fish oil, olive oil, apples, and other juicy fruits.
Liver cleansing using herbal and homeopathic remedies help return the liver and immune system to normal function. As with any cleansing process, it is best to consult a professional that will assist you with the proper dietary changes and method of cleansing most appropriate for you.
Heal the Digestive system
Digestive concerns such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, sensitive stomach and abdominal pain are all signs that there is an imbalance in the intestinal system. Most of the immune system is in the form of lymphatic tissue around the intestines. Food allergies may contribute to stressing the body and immune system. If you are not certain what foods may be bothering you, consider removing major allergenic foods first for approximately one month.
Top allergenic foods: Dairy, wheat (gluten), eggs, sugar (cane), soy, shellfish, and peanuts.
It is important to identify underlying food allergies or sensitivities. This may be done through an elimination diet or testing the blood for food sensitivities.
Supplements that assist the healing of the digestive tract include probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium spp.) these are beneficial bacteria that promote good digestive and immune health. They are found naturally in kefir, yogurt, saurkraut, miso, kombucha and other fermented foods. In addition, L-glutamine or larch powder, heal the lining of the intestine as well as several herbs and homeopathic remedies.
Alkalinize the Body
Individuals with allergies are not regulating their pH levels well, and as a result are not eliminating toxins. To alkalinize the body, consider consuming many dark, green leafy vegetables or taking a ‘greens’ supplement that may include a form of blue-green algae (spirulina or chlorella). Minerals may also be taken to alkalinize the body or a mixture of 12 tissue salts, which is a homeopathic preparation in tablet form that includes all of the minerals in the natural forms found in the body.
Avoid acid forming foods such as fruit juices, soda pop, ice cream, pastries, cake, chocolate bars and junk food. Consuming enough water is also important for the filtration of the kidneys and the health of all our cells. Drink at least the equivalent of ½ your body weight in ounces. Divide your body weight in pounds by 2. This equals the number of ounces of water you require daily. A glass is approximately 8 ounces.
Support the Adrenal Gland
Our adrenal glands produce important hormones that help us adapt to stress. Routine is important for the healthy function of the adrenal glands. It is necessary to have regular times for meals, sleep, rest and activity to establish a rhythm. The adrenals may be supported using herbs and homeopathics as well as various supplements. For managing allergy symptoms, consider Vitamin C, as it boosts the immune system, and acts as a natural anti-histamine and supports the adrenals. A typical dose is between 1,000mg and up to 3,000mg for an adult during peak allergy season. Bioflavonoids have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are found naturally in fruit and vegetables. It is beneficial for the lining of the small blood vessels in the body in areas such as the nasal passages that get irritated by airborne allergens, leading to swelling and discomfort. A typical dose is 500mg per day during allergy season and will decrease inflammation.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies or other chronic allergic conditions and would like relief, consider the above strategies and seeking the advice of a naturopathic doctor to provide more specific treatments for you. If you would like more information on the treatment of allergies or a personal health consult, please book today!