I do believe the long, harsh winter is finally winding down, and spring has officially sprung, at least here in Georgia! If you’re like me, you can’t wait to get out and enjoy walks in the park, spring festivals, baseball games and a few days by the pool. Unfortunately, spring also brings a little baggage in the form of pollen, making people feel crummy. Pollen allergy symptoms include congestion, runny nose, sore throat and fatigue, just to name a few.
When people who are allergic to pollen come in contact with it, their bodies release histamines, which cause the uncomfortable symptoms that keep them from enjoying the glorious spring weather.
It’s only early March, but at Longevity we’re already getting calls right and left from patients asking how to manage their spring allergies. If you usually struggle with pollen and other allergies, you don’t have to wait for the symptoms to come before you do something about them. Take steps to arm your immune system now.
- Cut down on dairy and sugar intake. The over-consumption of dairy products is the leading cause of allergies. Cow’s milk, which contains a protein called casein, is notoriously the most mucus-forming food we can consume. Alternatives include goat’s milk, rice milk, almond milk and coconut milk. Eating too much sugar can also suppress your immune system. Whenever possible, reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet, or replace it with an all-natural sweetener like honey or stevia.
- Bulk up on produce. Fruits and veggies are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that protect your immune system. And no, french fries don’t count as a veggie!
- Rid the body of toxins with water and exercise. A great way to keep your immune system strong is to cleanse it of toxins with plenty of water. Sipping about half your body weight in ounces per day will not only lessen the severity of allergy symptoms, but also keep your skin looking healthy and enhance athletic performance. Regular exercise loosens toxic buildups that accumulate in your muscles and joins. It also helps move your lymphatic system, one of the major battlegrounds of immunity.
- Get plenty of rest. When you sleep at night, you go into the parasympathetic, or the relaxed state, which allows your body to repair from the damage caused by daily stress and exposure to toxins. Don’t cheat your immune system out of the eight hours of rest it needs!
- Stock up on natural home remedies. Instead of reaching for the Zyrtec or Claritin, head to your local health food store or naturopathic pharmacy and pick up the following over-the-counter preventatives:
- Quercetin – This phyto-chemical is derived from the skins of apples and red onions (eat up!), and is also sold as a dietary supplement. Once in the body, quercetin acts as a powerful antioxidant, anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory.
- Vitamin C – Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C’s many benefits include guarding against immune system deficiencies.
- Probiotic – Taking probiotics, or friendly bacteria, in the form of a supplement supports general wellness and smooth immune system function.
- Immunoglobulin – This is just a fancy word for the antibodies that neutralize germs in the digestive tract. Unfortunately, many of our bodies don’t release enough immunoglobulin due to stress, poor foods and toxins, so we’re more susceptible to allergies. This is when it may become necessary to take these antibodies in the form of a supplement.
- Netty Pot – As part of a regular hygiene routine, netty pots use a salt water or saline solution to cleanse your nasal passages and prevent allergy symptoms.
Let me know if you have questions about these suggestions or need help finding the supplements, and I’ll be happy to make a recommendation.
Hopefully the cold snaps are on their way out. In the meantime, Happy Almost Spring!