Spring Has Sprung, Hachoo!

“If you’re anything like me, you’re more than ready for winter to be over. The good news is, spring is just around the corner. The bad news is, along with spring come seasonal allergies. But don’t fear! Here are a few tips to help you head off that runny nose and watery eyes.

Sweeten it up.

By now, you’ve probably heard that honey (especially raw, local honey) can be used to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms. What you may not know is that eating it regularly in the months leading up to allergy season can have a powerful impact, as well. In one recent study, a group of 44 patients diagnosed with birch pollen allergies consumed either birch pollen honey or regular honey daily from November to March. The control group, which consisted of 17 patients, used only their regular medication to relieve symptoms. These were the outcomes for the patients who consumed honey:

  • 60 percent reduction in symptoms
  • Twice as many asymptomatic days
  • 70 percent fewer days with severe symptoms
  • 50 percent decrease in usage of antihistamines

Addressing leaky gut syndrome.

Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where small gaps develop between the cells in the lining of your intestinal wall. As a result, undigested food, bacteria, and metabolic waste can leak from the digestive tract into your bloodstream. This is associated with Chron’s disease, celiac disease, and other conditions – and it can also be a contributing factor in seasonal allergies. So, working with a medical professional – preferably a naturopath or functional medicine doctor – to determine if you have leaky gut syndrome and then to address it can also help to alleviate your allergies.

Probiotic rich foods.

One 2008 study found that those who took probiotics during allergy season had lower levels of the antibodies that trigger symptoms. Probiotics also help address gut health, which is related to leaky gut syndrome.

It never ceases to amaze me how many conditions can be treated by acupuncture. Recent research shows that it has been effective at minimizing symptoms of seasonal allergies. And increasingly, low-cost community acupuncture clinics are opening with the goal of making acupuncture affordable to a wider range of people.

Watch your omegas.

Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids (especially, according to some professionals, those from animal sources like krill oil) can help to minimize allergy symptoms, because omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. In addition, decreasing the amount of omega-6 fatty acids that you consume will be beneficial, as well. Our ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s is very important. Due in no small part to the oils used in packaged foods, most of us consume far more omega-6s than necessary – and this can lead to inflammation.

Raw dairy.

If you’re someone who eats dairy, consider switching to raw, if it’s available in your area. Pasteurized dairy products often create phlegm, which can exacerbate seasonal allergy symptoms. They also lack many of the nutritional benefits of raw dairy products. Of course, you’ll want to do your research and find a raw dairy that you trust.”

From “Natural Cures for Seasonal Allergies” By Sarah Cooke

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