As the weather changes and the buds begin to open there are many people reaching for their meds to combat the pain of sinus inflammation and postnasal drip. While you might be thinking that it is all the fault of Mother Nature it may come as a surprise to learn there are other factors that play a role in creating seasonal allergies. Basically, over time your immune system has been weakened and the pollen in the air triggers an explosive physical response.
ALLERGIES & THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Imagine your immune system to be the armed forces of your body, protecting you from foreign invaders and constantly on the alert fighting environmental toxins, junk foods, stress, chemicals, recreational and/or prescription drugs. Under these conditions the immune system can become overworked and trigger happy, meaning it begins to see things like dust and pollen as foreign bodies and launches an inflammatory response in retaliation. One of the chemicals the body releases is called histamine, which causes you to try and expel the allergens by coughing and sneezing. The weaker your immune system is the higher release of histamines and the more severe your reaction.
DIET & FOOD ALLERGY/INTOLERANCE
Before you found yourself wheezing and sneezing with spring pollen your diet had much to do with weakening your immune system. You may even have a number of sensitivities, intolerance or allergies to certain foods. A food allergy is when your body's immune system reacts to a food, typically small particles that have entered the blood stream, and recognized them as a foreign invader. Food intolerance is when your digestive system has an adverse reaction to a food or food ingredient. You can be sensitive to a food or chemical, but not necessarily allergic. Your body can also exhibit intolerance to something and yet not suffer an allergic reaction. These intolerances and sensitivities come from your liver's inability to break down chemicals and proteins in the detoxification pathways.
Cleaning up your diet and changing the way you eat food is a first step in overcoming your seasonal allergies. It does not happen overnight, but in time and with the right diet you can find relief and come to enjoy the season's change without having to rely on antihistamines. Unknown to many people food sensitivities can happen because most people don't chew their food to liquid. While your teeth masticate food, digestive enzymes are released in your saliva. As a result of not chewing properly, your food is incompletely broken down and enters your intestines as particles that can get absorbed into the blood stream. This creates antigen-antibody or allergic reactions. These allergy complexes can travel anywhere in the body, to the joints to cause arthritis symptoms, to the brain to trigger headaches, to the nasal passages to cause sinus reactions, to the intestines to create an irritable bowel, and to the skin to trigger eczema.
MODIFYING DIET FOR REDUCE ALLERGY IMPACTS
In the same way there are particles in the air that cause an allergic reaction, there are certain foods commonly recognized as allergy foods. These are the first ones considered when people suffer from symptoms of food intolerance. You can eliminate these foods one at a time replacing them with their substitutes. The following list is considered the top 9 foods you may be sensitive to and not even know it:
Allergy Food Subtitute Eggs Whole grains, turkey, chicken Cow's Milk Goat, nut, rice, coconut milk Fish Beans, legumes, chicken Shellfish Chicken, meat, beans, nuts, seeds Wheat & Gluten Rice, Quinoa, Amaranth, Millet Chocolate Carob Peanuts Pumpkin, sunflower seeds, nuts Tree Nuts
You may think that just avoiding the food will prevent you from ingesting it. Wishful thinking. Wheat, eggs and milk are used in many commercial products, peanuts may have been processed in equipment then used for another food and soy is a bulking agent for hamburgers, baked goods and many processed items. Best of all is to eat foods in their natural, unprocessed form, from farms and gardens you know provide the highest quality organic ingredients.
Delia Quigley is a holistic health practitioner, author of seven health books and an experienced yoga instructor. She also teaches the exquisite science of preparing whole, organic foods to support and strengthen the mind, body and spirit.