A significant number of people are sensitive to environmental pollutants, pollen, some grasses, and mold. These irritants manifest as airborne allergens, creating a host of symptoms including watery discharge from the nose and eyes, sneezing, exhaustion, sore throat, coughing, skin rashes, and headaches. Some people experience one or two symptoms for a few days, while others suffer from what is commonly known as hay fever, for weeks at a time.
To treat allergy symptoms it is important to understand what causes them. Airborne allergens irritate mucous membranes. As a reaction excess amounts of mucous are created, which leads to trapped waste particles. Mucous build-up combined with the inflammation associated with allergies makes symptoms highly uncomfortable. The reason that healthy eating is effective for allergy relief is that what we consume can help to cleanse the body of waste and boost the immune system.
Eat a generous amount of fresh fruits and vegetables for relief. Rich in fiber for cleansing, but also essential vitamins and minerals needed for healing, a minimum of six servings a day will encourage recovery and help prevent increased symptoms. Eat a salad of green leafy vegetables every day, with sliced carrots for immune stimulating vitamin A, and raw onions for sulphur and vitamin C. Include apples, which are rich in quercetin, a phytochemical that fortifies cell membranes, therefore inhibiting the release of histamine (histamine triggers an allergic reaction). Eat fresh pineapple for its high content of inflammation-reducing bromelain, and plenty of bananas for magnesium, which acts to calm the body and relieve allergy symptoms.
Other cleansing foods for allergy relief include whole grains, nuts, yogurt, and green tea. Eat plenty of oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat products which will supply plenty of fiber, as well as the B-complex vitamins which are necessary for proper immune function. Yogurt, or other cultured foods such as miso, will help the body by providing beneficial bacteria and strengthening the immune system. Green tea is naturally cleansing and an excellent source of antioxidants. Try a healthy eating regiment of green tea and oatmeal with bananas in the morning, a salad for lunch, yogurt, fruit, and nuts for a snack, and then brown rice, a desired protein, and vegetables for dinner. Focusing on a healthy diet rich in cleansing foods, while at the same time drinking eight glasses of water, a day will greatly reduce allergy symptoms by helping the body flush out toxins.
Foods to Avoid
If treating allergy symptoms through diet, it is essential to not only eat plenty of natural healing foods, but also to avoid foods that will increase mucous and inhibit cleansing. In general, processed foods have a negative impact, while natural foods are positive. Dairy foods should also be avoided or minimized (except for yogurt) as dairy is naturally mucous-forming. Try taking these foods out of the diet as much as possible:
- White flour products
- Canned foods
- Fried foods
- Cakes and cookies
Living Allergy Free
Choosing healthy eating for allergy relief is a great way to reduce symptoms, but also to greatly enhance the body's ability to protect itself from illness. Once waste and toxins are removed, and the immune system is strong, there may be no need for medications which only cover up symptoms, and generally have negative side effects.
Other than diet, it is important to keep the body and living environment as clean as possible, and get plenty of exercise (very sensitive people may have to stay indoors during peak pollen times). All of these actions combined will help you face the next allergy season with confidence, knowing you have the power to live allergy free.
Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Page, Linda. "Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone." Eleventh Edition (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).
pollen photo by: Allison Pavlos/CC flickr
bananas photo by: Ian Ransley/CC flickr