Spring Fever? Some Natural Ways to Keep Allergies at Bay
As the sun greets us for longer days and the weather starts to warm, it's easy to see why this is the favorite season for many people. From spring cleaning to gardening to more activities, we can get out of our hibernation and enjoy the great outdoors(the ease in pandemic restrictions help too!).
But some people might have a mild dread with this season. If you look at that photo of grass and flowers and think red itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing, we hear you! Spring also means allergy season. But before you reach for the Claritin, consider some natural means of allergy management first!
An allergy is an immune system reaction to something in the environment that doesn't cause a reaction in someone else.
Allergy expression has a threshold, and tends to be a cumulative effect. Whether you have allergies that are seasonal or year round sensitivity to things like dust and dander, you know that you already have a heightened sensitivity to certain things. Imagine if you were to then add on top of that other things in your food and drink that make you MORE sensitive! That might make for a not so fun time.
That is why I would recommend reducing other known irritants in what we can control, like the food we eat so that we can lower our load from that allergy threshold response.
Grains (not just gluten/wheat) and some legumes have what are called LECTINS, which are pro-inflammatory agents. They are a means of protection for the plant against being eaten too much to where it can't proliferate. Plants need some protection against predators too! Different grains have different lectin potency that can have varying levels of severity in the inflammatory response they cause. What that means is that while everyone has a sensitivity to some level, not everyone has an allergic reaction. So even though you may not have an immediate inflammatory or allergic response to eating one bowl of spaghetti, maybe eating it every day for every meal over a few months might increase your susceptibility to an allergic reaction. Conversely though, if you were to reduce that for a few months, you could have less susceptibility to an allergic reaction!
Many of you probably already know that I am a fan of simple cleanses periodically. Not many of you may have known that for the month of March, I did a "no grains and no sugar" challenge! Part of it was to keep my microbiome at bay with those cravings and the other part was to practice what I preach and let you know that it is doable and why you should try it too!
Anecdotally, my mother suffers from severe seasonal allergies, and I had her go on a similar cleanse a few years ago. She is no stranger to different cleanses and detoxes and has done some on her own (She even did a 90 day vegetarian one that emphasized eating frozen grated ginger every day!). She asked me what would be different about this one. I thought about it and told her that the difference is that she will likely notice less allergic reactions and maybe less weight loss, but more centrally. Guess what? That year was reported to be the worst allergy season on the news, and she didn't have a single allergy attack!
I'm not saying to eliminate it forever, but if seeing the pictures in this newsletter struck fear in your heart, it might be a good idea to try the challenge and see how things go! At the very least, a reduction might be worth a try (I love a good 80-20 rule!)
Did you know?
There have been studies that show that spinal stiffness is related to a lower overall immunity? Since allergies involve immune sensitivity and is a cumulative effect on stressors to trigger a response, precise chiropractic care and targeted structural rehab can help! Chiropractic adjustments as well as structural rehab like Chiropractic Biophysics can make a stiff spine more flexible, improving immunity and reducing stress to the body. That's one less stressor to contribute to an allergic reaction!
Other helpful suggestions
Bromelain - an enzyme found in papaya and pineapples - naturally anti-inflammatory and can reduce general swelling in the body
Probiotics - A 2015 review of 23 studies indicated that probiotics may help improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Spirulina - A 2015 study indicated that dietary spirulina — a blue-green algae — demonstrated antiallergic protective effects towards allergic rhinitis.
Quercitin - a favorite of natural healing ad