Spring is here with the fresh air, birds chirping, flowers blooming and trees budding. If you're an allergy sufferer, you likely know the other signs of spring: itchy eyes, runny nose, constant sneezing.
But spring doesn't have to be a fog of antihistamine-induced drowsiness and snot.
Would you believe it if I told you that your allergy symptoms are most likely pointing to a bigger issue? One that has more to do with your gut than with the pollen floating through the air?
Upwards of 70% of your immune system is in your gut. Yes, SEVENTY PERCENT. You don't have to be a math whiz to figure out if your gut isn't healthy then your immune system won't be up to par either. By fixing your gut, you can minimize or even eliminate those pesky seasonal allergies that everyone seems to suffer from this time of year.
It won't be an instant fix and you may not even get relief this year. However, as your gut begins to heal, you'll notice improvements in your immune system that will make you resistant to colds and other bugs in the fall and winter seasons and seasonal allergies in the spring and early summer months.
First, you'll want to focus on eliminated food groups that are common causes of inflammation that can contribute to poor gut health. These include gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn and added sugar. I highly recommend doing an elimination diet, like the Whole 30, to help you figure out which foods may be contributing to inflammation in your body.
While you're cutting out inflammatory foods, you'll also want to focus on adding in gut-healthy foods by eating something fermented at least once a day. (And, no, wine and beer don't count.) Options include kimchi, sauerkraut and coconut kefir. From the supplement aisle, you'll want to pick up a quality probiotic to help build up the healthy bugs in your gut that make your immune system happy and healthy,
As your gut is healing, you'll notice and improvement in symptoms. But, for those of you trying to avoid OTC antihistamines, decongestants and steroid nasal sprays, I have a few more natural treatment options for you to discuss with your healthcare provider.
1.) A neti pot and/or nasal saline rinse. These items will physically wash away any pollen (or snot) and open up your nasal passages without the use of an immune-suppressing steroid nasal spray. We want to help our immune systems, not suppress them!
2.) Local, raw honey. A teaspoon of good quality honey in some hot tea is a relaxing, fun way to soothe your throat and combat allergy symptoms. Make sure you get local honey and not the stuff in the cute little bear at the grocery store. Most grocery "honey" is ultra-filtered and has had all the pollen, that helps your body fend off allergies, removed. Or, has actually been cut with high fructose corn syrup. This is definitely NOT what your body needs.
3.) If you're still suffering, there are natural allergy products on the market that can help fight acute allergy symptoms. I've linked the one I like here. www.pharmaca.com/ortho-molecular-d-hist-natural-120-capsules.
Here's to enjoy a healthy, allergy-free spring!