It’s that time of year again when flowers are popping up and trees are blossoming with the prettiest pinks and whites. The dark, cold winter is over and everyone is thrilled to get outside to soak up the sun and warmer temperatures.
Unless that is, you’re an allergy sufferer. While everyone else is gleeful about spring, you pack around tissues, sneeze at the most annoying times, hide inside, and sound like you should be sick in bed. Allergies are no fun and you can’t wait for all the pollen to go away so you can enjoy the outdoors again.
Allergies are caused by a hypersensitivity in your immune system that makes your body overreact with symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, sinus over productivity, itchiness, and rashes. When the immune system sees a specific thing, such as pollen, as “the enemy,” it produces something called histamine. Often, allergy sufferers turn to over-the-counter medicine, such as Benadryl, to deal with the symptoms. But many of these medicines have side effects that aren’t desirable.
Here are a few natural ways to combat the allergy season so you can feel great again and avoid the chemical-induced side effects that come with mainstream medications.
1. Check your diet
Often, our clean diets start to slouch when we’re not giving them careful attention. Before you know it, you’re loading up on coffee, indulging in sugar by afternoon, and then winding down with a giant glass of wine in the evenings. In between, your clean food content is minimal and you’re eating unhealthy convenience foods. At the first sign of allergies, clean out your fridge and recommit to a clean diet. It will work wonders at helping your immune system function better.
2. Recommit to a healthy lifestyle
Don’t just clean out your cupboards, clean up your lifestyle, too. Get back to exercising. If being outdoors is too hard for you with a stuffy head, join a gym or stream some workouts at home. Get your body moving to increase your health, decrease your inflammation, and power up your immune system. Find ways to cut your stress as much as possible. Say no to things that push you over the edge and say yes to more meditation and relaxation.
3. Get enough sleep
Sleep is what makes our bodies work correctly. If you’ve been staying up late and waking up early, you’re definitely not getting enough sleep. If insomnia is keeping you up, find some ways to de-stress, clear your mind, and trigger your body to get tired. Get a solid 8 or more hours of sleep every night and your immune system will feel stronger and more capable.
4. Clean your house
If there’s pollen outside, there’s a big chance you’ve brought it in on your shoes and clothes. Do a deep clean of your house, removing dirt and dust. If you need to, wear a mask to filter out all the allergens. Keep up on your house to make sure allergens don’t pile up again. Consider buying an air filter and a deep cleaning vacuum if you have severe allergy issues.
5. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
Allergies are generally serious inflammation in your body, caused by an allergic reaction. Over the counter medicines work by decreasing that inflammation and calming down your immune system’s reaction. You can do the same thing by ensuring that your diet is anti-inflammatory. Eat plenty of greens, avoid foods that trigger inflammation, and load up on clean, organic foods that will make you feel great.
6. Eat local honey and bee pollen
You can expose your immune system gently to the pollen in your area by eating local raw honey and by taking local bee pollen. This will help give your immune system the chance to “understand” the local allergens and learn how to deal with them in an effective way. Plus, raw honey is a tasty addition to your clean diet!
7. Buy or make your own local yogurt
You can double increase your immune system’s strength and response by eating yogurt made in your area. Choose organic and cleanly made dairy yogurt, or coconut or other dairy-alternative yogurt with live bacteria. This will expose your body to friendly regional bacteria and heal your gut.
8. Take probiotics
A healthy immune system starts with a healthy gut. Make sure you take a daily probiotic to help your body process foods and other things in a healthy way. By healing or avoiding leaky gut syndrome, you’ll ensure that allergies are a thing of the past.
9. Take apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is the remedy of all remedies. It helps keep your body in tip-top shape and is great for giving your immune system a boost. Just toss a tablespoonful in a glass of water first thing in the morning and whenever you feel an allergy attack coming on.
10. Up your intake of supplements
Especially quercetin. It’s a bioflavonoid that helps to stabilize your immune system and control the release of histamines. You can start taking this supplement weeks before allergy season to help your immune system handle the allergens before they show up.
11. Use a neti pot or nasal saline spray
For dealing with the daily troubles of overactive sinus activity, use a neti pot to clean out your sinus cavity. If you’re uncomfortable with this method, you can also buy a nasal saline spray at your local natural foods store to help irrigate your sinuses. Both methods can help you find immediate relief so you can breathe right again.
Prevent Allergies All Year Round
The best way to deal with allergy season is to make sure you’re taking good care of yourself throughout every season. Always check in with your diet and correct when you’ve slid away from clean eating.
Get enough sleep and reduce your stress. Eat local raw honey and homemade yogurt, plus stock up on your daily probiotics. Take the right combination of supplements to boost your immune system, and have tools such as the neti pot on hand if you do end up needing them.
Take good care of your body and mind, and you’ll reduce the chances that you’ll have unmanageable allergies to ruin your enjoyment of the beautiful spring season.