Nature Knows Best: Spring is in the air

I am writing this on the first day of spring. So many of us are looking forward to the change of season but along with the change of weather can come seasonal allergies after we have hopefully avoided colds and the flu. I remember in Georgia, watching the Slash Pine trees release massive amounts of light yellow pollen. We saw it dancing on the wind as we sneezed away. As native Oklahomans, we had never seen anything like it. No wonder our bodies have issues during this time of year! I thought.

When we have a negative reaction to pollen, what is happening is our immune systems are working in overdrive producing Histamine as a way to combat the allergens. Symptoms of seasonal allergies can include sneezing, coughing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes.

There are several over-the-counter medications available but many people don’t care for the side effects and are looking for something natural. I am here to help.

What you eat can be important when dealing with seasonal allergies. It’s wise to stay away from dairy foods, which are known mucous producers, and processed sugar, which suppresses the immune system.

Also, it’s possible to have a cross-reaction when eating, which means when you consume a food or beverage that is similar to an allergen and your body’s defense system kicks in. During allergy season when your immune system could already be on high alert, it may help to avoid certain foods for a time. Some general items to watch out for are processed meats, smoked fish, citrus fruits, sour cream, aged cheeses, dried fruit, nuts, pickled food, beer, wine and even kombucha.

“In fact, up to 70 percent of the more than 60 million American nasal allergy sufferers experience cross-reactions after eating certain foods.” An itchy mouth or throat is a symptom of consuming a food that should be enjoyed after allergy season is over. Food charts of cross-reactions can be found online for specific don’ts according to your allergy.

Quercetin is known for aiding the body in dealing with allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. This is a bioflavonoid found in some fruits and vegetables that help to stabilize the release of histamine in the body. It is a supplement we always try to have it on hand. It can be taken as symptoms occur or a few weeks before allergy season starts to prepare your immune system. Please consult your healthcare professional. Some foods containing Quercetin are olive oil, blackberries, blueberries, garlic, red grapes and dark cherries.

Local raw honey can help build immunity against allergens. Honey is antifungal, antibacterial, contains medicinal and nutritional qualities and can help build a natural resistance to pollen. Consuming a little honey daily can boost the immune system during allergy season.

I promoted Elderberry Syrup this winter season and heard amazing testimonies. Upon researching, it looks like this wonder food can help allergy sufferers as well. Elderberries are chock-full of many beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. The syrup can be homemade or purchased. I prefer this recipe:

The Stinging Nettle plant gets its name from the prickles on its leaves, which causes intense stings and a rash. I know by personal experience. Ironically, it is known to help alleviate eczema, hives and allergic reactions ( after it is processed). It is anti-inflammatory and gives us a nutritional boost. To help alleviate allergy symptoms, I prefer to purchase and consume this as a tea or supplement.

Using a “Neti Pot” to irrigate the sinuses can help with congestion. A saline spray can help flush out pollen from nasal passages. It may sound simple but remember to keep windows closed and wipe down clothes, if you have been in nature. If it is mandatory to mow or do yard work and you have allergies, a dust mask can help dramatically.

I hope these natural ideas help you during this allergy season. After all, this is Oklahoma and we need to be prepared for anything.

Brooke DeLong, N.D.

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.” Mark Twain

Disclaimer: My goal is to empower and educate people to take control of their health, naturally. Please use common sense, visit with your health care provider and do your own research if something piques your interest.



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