Although many of you don't associate February with allergies, as a holistic health educator I know that now is the time to make some lifestyle changes to lessen your allergic load, and make allergies less troublesome in the Spring. In many areas of the country, although the leaves aren't out, pollen is beginning to show up in the air.
Allergies are an immune system disorder, where our immune system is overactive and believes that everyday harmless things like pollen pose a threat to it. Conventional medicine treats allergies with injections and pills, which create side effects and never get to the root cause. Here are five tips from my allergy program to lessen your body's allergic response, so that allergies won't stop you from enjoying your Spring.
*Remove allergenic foods from your diet: Some of the most allergenic foods are eaten by many, every day. These foods include peanuts, wheat/gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and citrus. People that don't want to pay for expensive allergy tests can do an elimination diet and avoid certain foods for three weeks, then do a challenge by re-introducing the food. Sometimes the results are surprising. Your holistic health educator can recommend an elimination diet or help you figure out which foods may be causing the problem based on your symptoms.
*Heal your leaky gut: Many holistic practitioners believe that leaky gut can cause an allergic response. The premise is that the lining of the small intestine gets irritated and thus compromised by eating modern day processed foods, foods and water with chemicals and toxins, or foods that we're intolerant or allergic to. This can create tiny fissures in the gut barrier, letting bacteria and various toxins leak out into the bloodstream rather than staying in the gut and ending up in the stool. Once these toxins enter the bloodstream, it causes a reaction by our irritated and overstimulated immune system. A holistic practitioner can guide you in explaining how to improve gut function.
*Evaluate your daily personal care and household products: Many of the products we are exposed to every day have a profound effect on our immune system. The Environmental Working Group publishes a yearly booklet sent to your email, that not only lists the most harmful products, but also the safe ones.
*Make your home an allergy free zone: Incorporate products like dust mite mattress and pillow covers on the bed, and a vacuum with a HEPA filter that doesn't recirculate the dust. Clearing unhealthy clutter and the dust it collects is also helpful. You may benefit from having a HEPA air filter in your bedroom at night.
*Eliminate high histamine foods: These foods can be eliminated by allergy sufferers with good results. I was surprised to learn that some foods contain histamine, while others trigger its release. Some high histamine foods include alcohol, pickled or canned foods, matured cheeses, smoked meats, shellfish, chocolates and other cocoa based products.
Today's Takeaway: To get to the root cause of allergies, it's important to take a holistic approach and look at things like nutrition, home environment, and gut health. Your holistic health educator can help you sort out your allergy triggers. Get out and enjoy the Spring....