So, what do you do if you're among the millions of Americans suffering from chronic allergies? Well it's certainly no secret that there are all sorts of pills and potions out there that promise you relief. Unfortunately, there's no one approach for everyone, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). Here are some tips, however, to help you with some of the most common mistkaes when it comes to "curing" your allergy woes. These recommendations come from natural allergy-relief tips from Rodale's The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods: Proven Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent More Than 80 Common Health Concerns (Rodale, 2008).
#1: Throwing money away.
As mentioned above, we all know there are hundreds of products on the market claiming to ease your allergy ailment. The fact is, some of them will work for you while other will be a big waste of money. Are you finding yourself jumping from product to product and still have no relief? If so, consider making an appointment with an allergist, who might suggest allergy shots that can actually cure, not cover up, your allergy symptoms. You can also try nasal saline sprays or rinses, such as the Neti pot, which have been found to be invaluable to some people experiencing irritated sinuses. Just be sure that you don't overuse them.
#2: What is the true issue?
Do you know the true cause of your allergies? Often times, people tend to treat allergy symptoms without knowing what they're allergic to, or if they really are suffering from true seasonal allergies. While hay fever is a prime culprit this time of year, other allergens can also cause symptoms. Did your allergies just start or do you actually have them year-round? Find an allergist who can help you figure out a treatment plan at AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org
Things like dust mites, cockroaches, cigarette smoke, or even the artificial fragrances in candles, hair spray, or air fresheners could be causing symptoms similar to hay fever allergies. Wash your bedding in hot water every two weeks to combat dust mites, use non-toxic pest management methods to rid your living space of cockroaches and pests, and steer clear of synthetic fragrances; besides being irritating, many contain chemical platicizers linked to hormone disruption and low IQs.
Your allergies may also be caused by the foods you are eating. Dairy is among many common foods that have been linked to an individual's allergy symptoms. This doesn't mean you have an allergy to the food, it simply means you have developed a sensitivity or intolerance. To test whether or not you are sensitive to dairy, try avoiding all dairy-containing foods including cheese, milk, yogurt, whey protein and any foods containing milk products. You may be pleasantly surprised!
#3: Allowing allergens into your home.
Once you find the cause (or causes) of your problem and the proper treatment, you should take steps to keep the allergens that agitate you out of your home and out of your diet. If you're allergic to pollen, don't keep your windows open all the time, and take a shower when you come in from the outdoors. Pollen counts are the highest around midday, so that's also a good time to try stay indoors. Found you have a sensitivity to certain foods? Avoid eating these foods at all costs - it will be well worth it!
#4: Pigging out on problematic produce.
People who are allergic to pollen can also have oral allergy syndrome, which affects about a third of seasonal allergy sufferers. Your immune system sees a similarity between the proteins of pollen and those in some foods, and that can trigger a reaction. If you're allergic to tree pollen, you may need to avoid apples, cherries, pears, apricots, kiwis, plums, or nuts. (Cooking or peeling these foods can help bypass a reaction in some people.)
On the other hand, research has found that certain foods can actually help to heal hay fever. Broccoli, citrus fruits, collard greens, and kale are full of compounds that can help your body cope with allergy season.
Try this anti-allergy soup from The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods. It is made with ingredients that may also be helpful:
Boil a whole onion with the skin, along with a clove of garlic. Add ½ chopped leaves and diced taproots of evening primrose. Boil the ingredients for three to five minutes, add 1 cup nettle leaves and 1 cup diced celery stalks, and boil for another three to 10 minutes. Remove the onion skins from the mix, and enjoy. (You can season with wine vinegar, black pepper, diced raw onions, hot pepper, turmeric, curry powder, or celery seed.)
#5: Boost your diet full of antioxidants.
Include Berries, dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and beans. I also recommend taking a powerful antioxidant-rich supplement called Isotonix OPC-3®. This supplement is an isotonic-capable food supplement that is made from a combination of bilberry, grape seed, red wine and pine bark extracts, and citrus extract bioflavonoids, all found to be powerful antioxidants. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) are bioflavonoids (complex organic plant compounds) found in fruits, vegetables and certain tree barks that provide exceptional nutritional benefits to the human body. Studies have shown OPCs to be up to 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals. Isotonix OPC-3 contains the only isotonic form of Pycnogenol® in the world. Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree and the most clinically researched and potent bioflavonoid.
Questions? Feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!