5 Natural Solutions to Eliminate Seasonal Allergies

Flowers smByline: Sara Best

Sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes – the hallmarks of seasonal allergies.

When everyone around you is celebrating the return of spring, are you silently cursing all growing things?

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, the pollen in the air triggers a histamine (immune system) response in your body. One of the ways to prevent the horrible symptoms of this reaction is to strengthen your immune system so that it can quickly and easily neutralize the allergens without causing such a dramatic (and miserable) response.

Here are five things you can do to boost your immune system and help end your suffering from seasonal allergies:

1. Improve Digestion

Since approximately 80 per cent of your immune system is located in your gut, it’s no surprise that this is also where a lot of issues around allergies begin.

One of the biggest culprits behind allergies is leaky gut. After years of abuse (poor digestion, undiagnosed food sensitivities, etc.), gaps can start to form in the lining of your intestinal wall. This allows undigested proteins to enter your blood stream, sending your immune system into overdrive. With your immune system on constant red alert like this, it becomes unusually sensitive to environmental triggers and the symptoms of seasonal allergies often worsen.

You can disrupt this pattern by working to rebuild your intestinal wall. For a period of 21 days, try eliminating all common food allergens (gluten, dairy, soy, corn).  During this period also cut out caffeine, alcohol and as much sugar as possible. Replace these foods with nutrient-dense and fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and clean proteins. Add in a good quality probiotic supplement and also look at natural sources of probiotics such as fermented foods.

You may find a significant improvement in your allergy symptoms at the end of the 21 days.

2. Drink Water

Your immune system – like every other system in your body – relies heavily on being properly hydrated to function.  Most of us are walking around in a state of at least partial dehydration for most of the day.

Aim to get your full 6-8 glasses of water a day – more if you’re exercising heavily.

Water with fresh lemon juice is also a great way to alkalinize the body which helps to reduce inflammation and support the immune system.

3. Antioxidants

Antioxidants are like booster packs for your immune system. They feed the production of white blood cells and antibodies.

Vitamins C, E and beta-carotene as well as zinc and selenium are among the most powerful antioxidants.

Great dietary sources of these include berries, green leafy vegetables, carrots, red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, green tea, Brazil nuts, citrus fruits, garlic and onions.

4. Sleep

Lack of adequate sleep can seriously compromise your immune system. The number of infection-fighting antibodies and cells in your body are reduced when you’re sleep deprived. In fact, studies have shown that certain white blood cells known as granulocytes are dramatically reduced after just one sleepless night.

Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

5. Cut out the Sugar

Processed sugar is incredibly hard on the immune system. Studies show that just three ounces of sugar can actually suppress your immune system within 30 minutes of consumption–a response that can last up to 5 hours!

SaraBSara Best is looking forward to graduating as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition this May.
She is the creator of the blog If Your Body Could Talk where she is building a community of people who want to better understand how to listen to the messages their bodies are sending them and use them to feel great and love life!
Sara is a writer and mom of two and lives in Ontario, Canada.

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter too!

Why Eat Fruit?

This is a guest post by Angelina Ignatova and she answers “why eat fruit”.

Maybe you’re just not a fruit person, or you’re wondering why eat fruit when you’re not sure you’re even eating enough vegetables? We’ll address both why eating fruit is important, but also how to eat fruit at the right time to avoid the side effects.

Why eat fruit?

Why do we eat food? It’s a rhetorical question, isn’t it? One can say it’s in order to survive and this would be almost right. Let’s close our eyes to the fact of breatharians’ (prana eaters) existence and move the attention to the delightful world of healthy food.

The most important aspect of a daily diet composition is nutrition – and why eat fruit is precisely because fruit is a big part of this rich palette of choices, called a healthy eating pyramid. Scientists say that if you eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day you may lose weight and also keep the right blood sugar level.

So let’s first understand how our digestion works during the day. When we swallow food, the first stop is our stomach. The gastric juice, containing a small amount of acid, starts to transform the food into the perfect consistency for the next step.

This is a very important part of the process; when a delicious apple or a nut cluster turns into a “smoothie”, because only in this form can all the nutrients be easily absorbed by our intestine.

Imagine that you ate, say, two pieces of toast and some fruit. When the fruit is ready to move to the intestine, the bread (which is more difficult to digest) blocks it and restrains it from moving on.

Gastric juice continues to digest the bread, while the fruit also continues to react with the acid and the mixture “fizzes” even more than it should.

That’s why sometimes when a person eats fruit after a meal they experience bloating, belching and a feeling of heaviness. Fruit is a rich source of fructose, vitamins and fiber. If you eat them properly, they will significantly benefit your body.

Why eat fruit if you’re not eating it at the right times?

Here are some tips to help you take full advantage of fruit:

Do not eat fruit when your stomach is full! You can do it at any time, but not after a meal.

After you eat some fruit, wait about 30 minutes before you eat anything else.

The best time to eat fruit is before the afternoon. They gradually increase the blood sugar level and awake the digestive system after night.

Why eat fruit when you’ll get a stomach ache? Try not to eat fruit with foods that are hard to digest.

Bananas and avocados are very heavy, so it’s better not to eat them in the evening. Take a banana or an avocado salad as an afternoon meal when the digestive system is ready for it.

If possible, prefer fresh fruit to frozen and canned ones because the processed fruit contain lots of sugar and, most likely, artificial preservatives, thus losing most of their nutritional value.

Why eat fruit?
Photo Credit

If you used to eat fruit as a dessert and then suffered from unexplained stomach-ache, try to follow this advice and see what happens. You can also find more healthy eating tips and information on this site – http://www.eatinghealthy.org. Stay fit and nature-friendly and don’t forget to wash all the fruits and veggies before enjoying them!

Angelina is a vegetarian and a yoga addicted writer from Aliso Viejo, CA. Her biggest goal is to make everybody be healthy and live happily. Follow her on Twitter at @_eatinghealthy and get more tips that answer why eat fruit!