I had this post all set to post today but after attending a great webinar last night I had to add a few more “interesting facts” that were shared by Dr. Sarah Oulahen HBHSc, ND.
Whether you are affected by seasonal allergies (happening only at specific times of the year) or perennial allergies (occurring throughout the year and possibly for many months) they impact our health, our mood and our overall enjoyment of life.
So why are some of us affected by allergies and all the lovely symptoms that go along with them? Well it’s thanks to our immune system and its over-reactive response to what it is interpreting as a threat. Our immune system produces antibodies, some of which protect us from sickness/infection and some of which identify allergens as harmful to us. When we come in contact with these allergens they are falsely reacted upon by the immune system; this immune system response can inflame your skin, sinuses, airway and digestive system.
Typical allergic responses are things like:
Itchiness and hives
Shortness of breath
Common allergens include things like:
Common drugs like penicillin
Some food additives like sulfur dioxide
Chemicals found in soaps, washing detergents and cleaning supplies
Foods can also provoke an allergic reaction, common food allergens for children include items like:
And common food allergens for adults include:
Distinguishing between food allergy and food intolerance is important and the two are often confused. A food allergy occurs when the body produces/generates an antibody response to the ingested food item whereas food intolerance is the inability to digest and process a particular food item leaving us feeling bloated, gassy etc. A true food allergy is much more rare than a food intolerance but both can be detrimental to our health and wellness. Food allergies can provoke a life threatening allergic response called anaphylaxis.
So what can we do to ease the symptoms that come along with allergies so we aren’t feeling so miserable? The absolute best strategy is sometimes the hardest one! We want to AVOID the allergen (trigger) as much as possible and we can do so by incorporating some of the following strategies into our routine:
Utilize one of the great apps that will keep you posted on pollen counts, molds etc. in your area (The Weather Network and WebMD have good alerts)
On “high alert” days keep windows closed and if possible the air conditioning on to reduce exposure
On “high alert” days try to plan your day so that you are spending reduced time outdoors and that you are limiting physical exertion activities (jogging, hiking etc.) during this time
If you have been spending time outdoors change your clothing upon returning home; pollen can linger on your clothing
Sleep with your bedroom window closed during high alert days and be sure to wash/change your bedding often
Mattress and pillow covers can help to reduce exposure; particularly when dust/dust mites seem to be the culprit
When possible have someone else do the lawn maintenance (grass cutting), if this is not possible then consider wearing a mask during this time
Be sure to shower and change your clothing after outdoor time and especially if you’ve been cutting the grass or doing other lawn maintenance
Determining food allergens/sensitivities can be difficult. The best way to determine what food items may be leading to your symptoms is to begin keeping a food journal and “listening to your body”.
Write a list of suspected food allergens and then begin to log in your journal how often (over the next 4 weeks) you are consuming these items.
For the next 4 weeks eliminate these suspected items from your meal plans to give your body a “break” from them
Reintroduce the food items over the next 4 weeks, slowly and one at a time; be sure to keep your journal and “listen to your body”
Some of the symptoms you want to watch for include things like:
Chest and shoulder pain
* Once you have identified a particular food item as allergenic, remove it from your meal plan; after 60-90 days (and after discussing with your health care provider) you may want to try re-introducing it and monitor for symptoms
I have seasonal allergies (mold and ragweed) as well as food intolerance (oats). Here’s what seems to help me the most and reduces my symptoms significantly:
Elimination of oats from my menu plan; I chose not to try to reintroduce oats into my menu planning
utilizing a dehumidifier in my basement to help with dampness and reduce the possibility of mold
keeping track of alerts for my area with regard to mold and ragweed
adjusting my routine and my outdoor activities on “high alert” days
irrigating my sinuses/nasal passages 2x week (Neti Pot)
I also take the following supplements daily (in doses as indicated on the label):
Quercitin : helps to increase immunity and decrease reactions to allergens
Bromelain: helps to increase the absorption of Quercitin and helps to reduce inflammation
Vitamin C: helps to protect the body from allergens and helps with inflammation
Calcium and Magnesium: helps to reduce stress
B complex: helps with proper nerve function and digestion
And I incorporate the follwing into my meal planning:
apples, berries, onions and cabbage because they contain Quercitin
yogurt and kefir for probiotics
cinnamon to aid with digestion
pineapple for their anti-inflammatory properties
avoidance of pro-inflammatory foods like bananas, milk and oranges
garlic and ginger to help aid digestion and for their anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties
lemon to aid digestion and help alkalanize the body
Did you know?
The three most common conditions that are overlooked and are most likely associated with allergies are: 1) digestive difficulties 2) yeasts and mold 3) Parasites
Boys with a history of allergies also have an increased rate of ADHD
When it comes to animals, cats are the most allergenic
Eating avocado, banana and chestnut can make a latex allergy worse
Individuals with seasonal allergies can also become allergic to some fruits and vegetables over time; cooking them tends to reduce the reaction
If you would like more help dealing with your allergy symptoms head over here to book a consultation or check here for a great webinar that will help you to ensure that your digestive system is functioning well.