Why Suffer? Beat Allergies Naturally!

allergies

With allergy season upon us, I am often asked how I am able to remain allergy-free throughout the season (well, with perhaps one or two days of sneezing or itchy eyes). After all, I was a heavy allergy sufferer my whole life. In fact, that is what led me to natural medicine. You would think that allergies can only get worse, but my allergies got better over time using primarily natural remedies. Year after year, I have patients coming in asking me if it is the worst allergy season ever, and I honestly wouldn't know. I don't feel the effects, except for slight burning in my eyes when the pollen count is really high.
 
Allergy Prevention 101 
First and foremost, diet is my mainstay therapy to beat allergies. Eating foods high in vitamin C, quercetin, and inflammation-busting omega-3s are my first line therapy for allergies (see below). But what you eat can be just as important as what you DON'T eat.
 
Over years of experimenting with smaller and smaller amounts of dairy during allergy season, I found that avoiding dairy completely was the only way to completely shut down any tendency towards inflamed sinuses and congested nasal passages during allergy season. Sorry to say for muffin, bread and croissant lovers, wheat doesn't help either. Sugar is also inflammatory, so I tend to avoid it as much as possible, but especially during allergy season. That means added sugar, like in sweetened beverages and processed food. It's no good for your immune system and no good for allergy sufferers. By avoiding these foods and adding in more fruits and veggies, my lifelong allergies got 80% better, and yours can too!
 
Foods to Avoid: 
Dairy 
Wheat 
Eggs (can be eaten in moderation) 
Sugar
 
Food to Eat: 
Foods high in Vitamin C: 
Dark leafy greens 
Broccoli 
Kiwi 
Organic strawberries 
Yellow bell peppers 
Peas 
Papaya (also rich in inflammation-fighting enzymes) 
Citrus
 
Foods high in Quercetin: 
Green tea 
Apples 
Raspberries 
Blueberries 
Cranberries 
Capers (highest concentration of all these foods)
 
Foods high in Omega-3s: 
Wild, cold-water fish (like salmon, sardines) 
Flax, chia 
Almonds, walnuts 
Avocado
 
Mast Cells — Allergy Symptom Promoters
Mast cells are those cells lining your nasal passages, sinuses, and airways that secrete histamine in response to airborne allergens. Everyone has heard of an anti-histamine. They are the most common OTC allergy medications, but they come with unwanted side-effects. They cause dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue, restlessness, mental fog, blurred vision and at worst, confusion.
Take a Mast Cell Stabilizer 
 
So, the best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to take a mast cell stabilizer when you feel allergy symptoms coming on, or better yet, even before they start. These are some of the natural remedies I have found to be most useful during allergy season.
 
**To order any of these products easily, click here and ask us for an Allergy Relief prescription from our online dispensary HealthWave.
 
At the first signs of sneezing, take Buffered Vitamin C 1000mg, and repeat every 4 – 6 hours. To this, you can add Quercetin 500mg 2 – 3 times per day. This combination works great for quieting unruly mast cells.
 
If you have a runny nose with lots of sneezing, I find that nettle leaf can provide immediate relief with its anti-histamine properties, but without the unpleasant side-effects of the OTC remedies. You can drink it as a tea from the dried leaves of the stinging nettle plant. As a supplement, take Nettle Leaf 500mg 2 – 3 times per day.
 
Other natural symptom relievers that stabilize mast cells and have an anti-inflammatory effect to reduce the pressure of inflamed sinuses include:
Xlear – a natural, steroid-free nasal spray that is proven to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages. Use as directed.
Bromelain – an enzyme derived mainly from the pineapple core. Take 1000mg between meals on an empty stomach, at least two hours after a meal or one hour before the next meal.
Butterbur – this anti-inflammatory is also used to help asthma symptoms. Take 150mg 3x/day.
Boswellia- another potent anti-inflammatory phytonutrient. Take 300mg 3x/day.
 
And for a quick pick-me-up nasal passage refresher and opener, try a small dab of peppermint oil at the base of your nostrils. You can also open up the nasal passages with a steam inhalation infused with a few drops of essential oil of eucalyptus. Place 4 cups of water in a pot, add 20 drops of eucalyptus oil, and bring to a boil. Place a towel over your head and lean over the pot, inhaling the steam while using the towel to trap it around your face.
 
Also, don't forget the utility of a nasal rinse or saline wash to simply wash out all the airborne allergens sticking to the insides of your nasal passages that are causing the symptoms in the first place. Most people hate neti pots because they are uncomfortable. Fortunately, a company called Nasopure makes a easy to use gentle nasal rinse. Same goes for the eyes. Isotonic sterile saline eye drops provide immediate relief for red, itchy eyes when the pollen count is high. Optique 1® by Boiron is a safe blend of homeopathic ingredients that work naturally to relieve minor eye irritations caused by airborne irritants, such as pollen, dust or ragweed. It can be used throughout the day without any risk of overdosing. Finally, there's relief for dry, itchy, burning, red eyes without the rebound effect of all those OTC vasoconstrictors or astringents that only provide temporary relief. Sabadil is also another one of Boiron's homeopathic products to help relieve allergy symptoms.
 
Ultimately, I wish you to have an asymptomatic allergy season. But, rest assured, that if you do tend to have symptoms, these natural remedies offer great alternatives to the usual OTC remedies. And if you still have symptoms, even with these natural remedies, or need further guidance, don't hesitate to make an appointment to see me.
 
Healthy regards, 
Dr. Adam Graves, ND, LAc
 
**To order any of these products easily, click here and ask us for an Allergy Relief prescription from our online dispensary HealthWave.

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