If you are one of the 50 million people in the US that suffers from seasonal allergies, you’ve probably tried a lot of over-the-counter medicines to treat them.
Pills, liquid, sprays – can all, potentially, be replaced by natural remedies!
If you are willing to switch up some lifestyle habits, clean up your diet and try a few key natural supplements, it can be done.
As much as you can count on the seasons changing every year, you can count on allergens to be an issue.
That’s why it’s important to focus on prevention and lifestyle changes that reduce your vulnerability to allergens.
This blog post will cover the most effective natural ways to manage seasonal allergies in the moment and prevent them from bringing strong reactions in the future.
But first, let’s do a quick overview of what’s happening in the body when we have allergies.
The body has similar reactions to seasonal allergies as it does to food allergies.
When spring or fall comes around many people end up with stuffy noses, scratchy throats and watery eyes due to their exposure to pollen, cottonwood and other seasonal elements.
However, compared to how serious a peanut allergy can be, most seasonal allergies are more of a nuisance than a life-threatening condition.
What are allergies?
Our bodies respond to everything we come in contact with.
The mucosal tissues that line our nose, mouth, throat and all the way down through our gut are constantly exposed to environmental toxins like pollution.
It works the same with something we’re allergic to.
Tiny molecules of something our body recognizes as bad gets into our system and the body sends off warning signals in the form of histamines.
Histamines bring more blood flow to the area, increasing mucus production, redness, swelling, and heat.
Why do they keep getting worse?
It’s very common for people to develop new allergies as they age. Or, they’ve had the same allergy all their life but it’s gotten worse.
What’s up with that?
Well, it often takes repeated exposure to develop allergies.
Almost like the immune system takes its time to decide it doesn’t like that particular allergen.
Some other factors that could be making you more vulnerable to allergies are:
– Global Warming – Allergy seasons are becoming longer and more potent
– Pollution – Allergies are worse in the city because of the air quality and cities are growing
– Stress – Increases inflammation in the body, makes you more sensitive to allergens
– Alcohol – Typically used to relieve stress but make allergies worse, usually contains a lot of sugar
– Processed Foods – Introduce a lot more allergens to your body and increases inflammation
Are there any natural remedies for allergies?
With so many allergy pills, herbs and supplements on the market it can be difficult to know what to try first.
Most allergy sufferers want relief FAST; they don’t want a trial and error process of various treatments.
Although there are natural solutions that can bring instant relief, the secret to life-long treatment and prevention of allergies can be broken down into 3 areas:
1. The Allergy-Fighting Diet
Try to clean up your diet 3 months in advance of when your allergy symptoms usually appear.
So, if you get the springtime sniffles, that means this winter it’s time to start getting in gear.
Eat closest to nature and limit alcohol intake.
Limiting sugar, dairy, wheat and soy is helpful because these foods increase mucus production in the body.
Try using the 90/10 rule for eating clean, because everyone deserves to indulge once in a while.
Eating lots of fruits and veggies is especially important because they are high in quercetin which is an anti-histamine.
Berries, cherries, apples, cabbage family veggies, leafy greens and yellow onion are especially high-quercetin foods.
Aim for 2 cups of fruit a day and 6-8 cups of veggies a day.
Veggies blended into smoothies count!
On the other hand, there are specific foods that are known to cause high levels of inflammation in the body.
The ones to avoid are:
2. Natural Supplements for Allergies
Supplements that make good natural remedies for allergies are ones that stabilize mast cells.
Mast cells are responsible for creating histamines.
Just like an over-the-counter anti-histamine blocks histamine production, there are natural options that work the same using ingredients like nettles and quercetin.
Some brands known to be effective are HistaEze and Histablock; they should be taken twice a day between meals.
Other natural helpers to calm the body’s allergic reactions are fish oil, flax oil, and the enzyme bromelain which is found in pineapples.
The enzyme’s ability to breakdown food and aid digestion also helps thin mucus and decrease inflammation.
It also enhances the absorption of quercetin, so it’s great to take both supplements at the same time (or eat some pineapple with your greens for the same effect)
3. Lifestyle Changes for Allergy Prevention
Natural remedies for seasonal allergies are lifestyle choices that help to reduce symptoms from allergies and prevent exposure when they become your new routine.
Flush out your system
In addition to eating healthy and adding natural supplements into your diet, it’s important to always drink plenty of water.
This cleans out your system, allowing your body get rid of allergens faster.
If you can tolerate using a neti pot, doing it every night or morning is a good way to flush out all of the pollen or mucus that was produced in your sinuses during the day or overnight.
Keep airways open
Many people like to keep an essential oil diffuser in the home because of the soothing affects that come from inhaling it.
It’s similar to using Vicks VapoRub when your sick.
For a natural remedy you can make at home, add one drop of eucalyptus, tea tree or thyme essential oil to 1 tsp of coconut, avocado, or olive oil.
Dip a cotton swab in the mix and twirl it up your nose or dab it onto your chest at night to help keep your nasal passages open.
Minimize allergens in the home
Your home can be made to be an allergy-free zone if you take the right steps!
In this case, steps without your shoes.
Remember, we bring all of the allergies that are outside in on our clothes and shoes, so making these changes at home can make a huge difference in how you feel everyday.
Make a habit out of the following:
– Take your shoes off at the door – don’t drag in the particles you’re allergic to!
– Change clothes when you get home and wash your clothes more frequently
– Throw blankets, comforters and rugs need to be washed regularly; try once a week
– If you like to keep your windows open at home make sure to use a HEPA air filter and purifier
– If you have a dog, wipe the dog down when you come in with a damp towel to get pollens off
Treat Your Body Year-Round to Prevent Seasonal Allergies
There are many natural remedies for seasonal allergies out there, but a year-round lifestyle of healthy diet and preventative measures are key to fighting allergies and winning.
Over-the-counter medicines can be stronger, but taking the natural route can also provide real results if you’re taking good care of your body.
If you have severe allergy symptoms and feel like you can’t risk ditching your medications, you can always take your usual medication while you start cleaning up your diet with the plan to slowly transition to natural solutions.
Seasonal allergies can be managed naturally.
Creating habits to reduce allergen exposure while reducing histamine production in your body all year round will reduce your sensitivity to allergens over time.
While the process can be slow it’s rewarding to see what you can do naturally!
If you enjoyed this blog post Dr. Krause has a podcast dedicated to seasonal allergies.
Click HERE to listen to the podcast now!