Seasonal allergies can certainly be miserable, especially in the spring and summer.
While conventional medicine treats seasonal allergies with injections and pills, these, unfortunately, create side effects and provide symptom relief while they really do nothing to address the root problem.
When trying to resolve allergies, not just manage them, it is important to understand that allergies are an immune response. When the immune system is activated and irritated, it can react to everything. When I first started working with people suffering from gut issues, I remember being shocked by how many of them had their allergies resolve after we healed the gut. However, thinking about it this should come as no surprise since over 60% of the immune system resides in the gut.
So, when getting to the root cause of allergies it is important to address both the gut and immune system. Restoring balance to the immune system allows not only for the control of allergies but also their resolution. As an added bonus, it improves overall health!
To improve gut health and fight off potential allergens, here are some helpful strategies:
- Remove and Replace. Start with a 3-week food allergy elimination diet. This includes eliminating common toxic triggers like wheat, corn, dairy, soy and alcohol. Eat whole foods and high-fiber foods that are high in anti-inflammatory plant properties. Avoid anything that contains sugar or trans fats. Focus on eating healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, avocados, and omega-3 fats. (If you would like a guide to the elimination diet just email us for a free copy).
- Use powerful gut-healing nutrients. These include probiotics, which provide good bacteria to improve digestion and reduce inflammation. Other valuable healing nutrients include glutamine, curcumin, zinc and omega-3 fish oil. Additionally, nutrients that can specifically provide allergy relief include Quercetin and nettles.
- Manage Stress. Long term stress affects cortisol which leads to a leaky gut and an imbalanced immune system. It is important to incorporate stress management techniques into your daily routine. Try things like yoga, meditation and breathing exercises to manage stress.
- Get quality sleep. Inadequate sleep combined with stress is a major contributor to health issues for many Americans. Optimal sleep is crucial for intestinal health and overall health. Research shows inadequate sleep shortens your lifespan and increases inflammation, which can lead to chronic disease. It can also increase your risk of diabetes by promoting insulin resistance. Your goal should be eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
If you try all these things and still suffer, I encourage you to find a good functional medicine practitioner who can dig deeper into other potential causes. Also, consider having your doctor order a simple blood test called C-reactive protein to measure the degree of inflammation in your body. Almost every chronic disease has hidden inflammation at its root. Identifying and resolving hidden inflammation early can prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, dementia, arthritis, allergies, autoimmune disease, digestive disorders and cancer.
The chronic inflammation that contributes to seasonal allergies and leads to chronic diseases can come from many of these sources:
- A high sugar diet
- A diet high in processed foods
- A diet high in omega-6 fats found in trans-fat and vegetable oils
- Lack of exercise
- Food allergies and/or intolerances
- Environmental toxins
- Ongoing chronic infections such as viruses, bacteria, yeasts, parasites and mold that have gone undiagnosed
While most people are aware they should adhere to the principles outlined above, they are often unaware of the impact these dietary and lifestyle behaviors have on seasonal allergies and more specifically on the prevention of chronic disease and improvement in overall health.