A-choo! Five Easy Allergy-Taming Techniques
If you’re like me, you probably don't want to spend entire spring stoned on a cocktail of antihistamines and prescription pills just to keep allergies at bay. With side-effects like chemically-induced sleepiness and dry-mouth, many allergy meds can feel more like a punishment than a cure! So what can you do to manage the sneezin’ season without having to lock yourself indoors? Take a few pre-emptive steps now, plus a few maintenance steps later to take you from spring through the first frost feeling great, naturally. Here are a few of my favorite allergy-fighting techniques:
1) Keep it moving.
We all know how important good digestion and good elimination is under normal conditions, but with seasonal changes, it’s even more important to keep digestion on an even keel. The better shape your gut’s in going into allergy season, the more resilient it will be and less susceptible it will be to irritants and allergens. To help prep your gut for the season, fill up on fiber, keep sugar to an absolute minimum and support the health of your good gut bacteria with a fermented food (yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, etc.) or a high-quality, broad-spectrum probiotic. Look for a probiotic that contains a variety of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria strains, and begin with a dose supplying approximately 1 to 25 billion CFU (colony forming units).
2) Embrace the greenery.
As in, eat and drink lots of leafy greens! Fiber-rich leafy greens are what your gut bacterial feed on and thrive on, which means a healthier, more resilient gut for you – everybody wins! Those healthy greens will also help keep you energized thanks to their phytonutrients, so dig in, preferably once or twice day. On those days when leafy greens are hard to come by, add some powdered greens to a tall glass of water to enjoy similar benefits, plus the head-clearing effects of the natural antihistamine quercetin. I always keep a small container of powdered greens in my bag so I can blend up an immunity-boosting drink anytime.
3) Have a cozy ‘cuppa.’
There’s nothing more soothing than, as the Brits call it, a cozy ‘cuppa’ tea. And in allergy season – preferably right at the start – you should make yours a cuppa stinging nettle tea, which in addition to being delicious, is also a wonderful, anti-inflammatory allergy remedy that’s been used for thousands of years to tame symptoms and prevent them from getting the upper hand. You can also enhance the tea’s benefits by adding a small amount of raw local honey to your brew can, over time, help desensitize your system to the allergens in your area, but again, go easy on it as honey is sugar, and your body doesn’t need much of it.
4) Be a clean machine.
Most of us take our showers in the morning, but if allergies are dragging you down, consider giving yourself another quick rinse at the end of the day. We may not realize it but our clothes, skin, and particularly our hair can collect pollen and irritate your nasal passages and sinuses, so a rinse off at the end of the day can help tamp them down. Also, don’t forget to change your pillowcases more frequently during allergy season to keep pollen and irritants away from your face while you snooze.
5) Pop a healthy pill.
I am a big fan of the nutraceutical formulas that include allergy-fighters like quercetin, bromelain, and stinging nettles leaf. I like Hista-Eze by Designs for Health or Pure Encapsulations Aller-Essentials and take 2 capsules, 2 times a day for about a week to fortify myself for the season. After that, I taper to a maintenance dose of one per day for the rest of the blooming season (when my allergies are in full bloom too). What I like about these products is that they’re drug-free, health-supportive and loaded with enzymes and botanicals that help keep my head clear as airborne irritants start to flourish.