Spring and fall are difficult times for those of us that have allergies to environmental antigens, such as ragweed, birch pollen, grass, and mould spores.
With higher amounts of airborne allergens circulating at this time you may feel:
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Tired or foggy headed
- Chest congestion and shortness of breath
Allergies develop when the immune system sees an allergen (ex. ragweed pollen) as a “problem”, and the immune system then mounts an inflammatory response to these allergens, by increasing the production of inflammatory cytokines, antibody production through T cell induction, and also releasing histamine from mast cells of the immune system, during this process.
At a cellular level there is a LOT happening, in the allergic response.
While it may seem like a quick fix to take over-the-counter medications, natural health support can go a long way to supporting a healthy foundation during allergy season!
My top 5 lifestyle recommendations for support allergies naturally:
- Increase household cleaning
- At least once weekly vacuum, mop, and wipe up: floors, carpets, surfaces
- Change bedding weekly, washing linens, towels, and keeping outdoor clothing
- Upholstery and carpet cleaning
- Avoid harsh and scented cleaning products
2. Air purifiers and furnace filters – invest in a HEPA air purifier at home, and change your furnace filters regularly at least once a month to reduce recirculation of airborne allergens
3. Shower nightly to reduce exposure of allergens on pillows and bed linens, to help reduce morning congestion
4. Use a cool, clean washcloth on itchy eyes, and use nasal saline rinses and saline sprays morning and nightly to help reduce congestion, reduce inflammation and remove physical allergens
5. Consume nutritious, cooked, and easily digestible foods, and possibly consider a short term low histamine diet
What is a low histamine diet?
Histamine is a chemical with a nitrogen base made in the body and it has important uses in the immune system, neurological system, and gastrointestinal system.
Our body makes histamine, and generally breaks this substance down naturally, and histamine is also found in certain foods.
Some people may have an inability to break down histamine (called a histamine intolerance) for a number of reasons, including:
- Medications, such as antidepressants, antibiotics, antipsychotics and more
- Gut health, gut inflammation, dysbiosis, and diseases such as Crohn’s disease
- Chronic or high stress
- Liver conditions
Foods to avoid on a low histamine diet:
- Fermented foods such as kefir, yogourt, and cheeses
- Kombucha and fermented drinks
- Cured meats, such as salami and canned, salted fish, such as sardines
- Pickled foods, beets, beans, onions, etc
- Fermented breads such as sourdough
- Alcohol, wine, beer
- Tomatoes, eggplant and spinach
- Vinegar, and ketchup
- Leftovers older than 24 hours
A word of caution
If you’re dealing with allergies, there may be an underlying reason why you’re suffering, other than a histamine intolerance.
It’s important to investigate the many other possible underlying causes in order to avoid recurrence of symptoms annually.
Before starting any new diets, removing foods or food groups, or starting an allergy protocol, be sure to discuss with a qualified healthcare provider, to ensure safety and to reduce overwhelm.
Take steps to reduce allergy symptoms, support a healthy immune response, and improve your quality of life. You won’t regret it!
Book a session with Dr. Kristin Spark to get started.