Seasonal allergies are a pain in the ass and they’ve shown up this year strong as ever. According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation, an estimated 50 million people in America regularly suffer from some form of allergies. (1)
Unfortunately, most of the things that trigger allergies (the location you live in, humidity levels, and rainfall amounts) are out of your control. You might not have control of the weather, but you do have control over the way your body reacts to seasonal changes.
What are allergies?
Allergies are your immune system’s way of reacting to unknown substances. An overreaction of the immune system (expressed as allergies) is a sign that your immune system is unbalanced.
Conventional treatments like Claritin or Zyrtec are available to help ease allergy symptoms, but treatments like this aren’t solving the underlying cause of the reaction in your body. It’s important to understand that when your immune system responds by producing an allergic reaction, it’s because your body is sensing that something is off. The tools described below provide you with ways to balance your immune system and build your natural defense system.
Below are three tools to help ease your allergies and balance your immune system
1. Gut healing remedies
Nearly 80% of your immune system lies in your digestive tract, and the microbes that reside in your gut have a large influence on the balance of your immune system. As stated above, when your immune system is unbalanced it will function in a highly reactive state and may show its imbalance through allergies. Improving your gut health doesn’t only have the potential to relieve your allergies, it can also provide clarity in your mind, body, and potentially relieve other ailments you’ve been suffering with. Below are some gut healing remedies that are easy to incorporate into your life.
- Avoid processed foods
- Hypoallergenic proteins (pea protein, hemp seeds, chia seeds)
- Consume more probiotic-rich foods (kimchi, pickled foods, kombucha, apple cider vinegar)
- Limit or completely remove gluten
- Consume healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil
(An interesting article about the link between gut health and the brain can be found here)
2. Vagus nerve activation
I wrote briefly about the basics of the vagus nerve in this post. Told you it would come back up again 🙂
The vagus nerve runs from the brain to all major organs in the body. It’s the direct information transmitter from your brain to your organs. Interestingly enough, the vagus nerve physically wraps itself around the gut. When mentally stressed, the body is pushed into fight or flight mode and all major organs are directly affected.
There’s a reason why they call the gut our ‘second brain.’ It’s where the majority of our immune system lives, and it’s a huge contributing factor to how we feel physically and emotionally.
It’s important to practice exercises to improve the functionality of the vagus nerve and help balance the stress we put on our bodies due to living a busy life. The vagus nerve has the potential to act as a reset button when your internal alarm system goes off because of a real or perceived threat. When you feel calm again, the nerve sends calming signals to the body so you can return to normal healing mode and reduce the inflammation that was brewing.
Ways to activate the vagus nerve’s calming response are in this article here and are also bulleted below.
- Deep Breathing Exercises (90-second breathing exercise here)
- Physical exercise
- Fasting (learn more about intermittent fasting here)
- Omega 3’s – Fish Oil, Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds
- Cold Showers
- Singing, chanting
Chronic stress creates a whole slew of negative effects, including anxiety, insomnia and sleep issues, inability to focus, depression, reduced cognitive abilities, nutrition depletion, digestion issues, and more. I live in northern New Jersey, so it takes effort to combat the stress of simply driving down the damn road. If not for your allergies, incorporating some vagus nerve activating practices into your daily routine has the potential to greatly improve your health.
3. Allergy soothing foods, tools, and essential oils
Frankincense essential oil: acts as an anti-inflammatory in the nasal passages, also great for respiratory infections from the cold and flu.
Eucalyptus oil: opens the lungs and sinuses and improves circulation thereby reducing symptoms of allergies (2)
Neti pot: flushes out your nasal cavity quickly and efficiently
Quercetin (can help control your symptoms): found in broccoli and cauliflower, onions/shallots, green tea, and citrus fruits. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that stabilizes the release of histamines and helps control allergy symptoms (3)
Local Raw Honey: When you ingest local honey, you’re ingesting local pollen allowing your body to be less sensitive to the pollen in your area. Plus, honey has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Apple Cider Vinegar: full of health-promoting probiotics and enzymes, and has a long list of additional health benefits you can read more about here. Add a tablespoon to your neti pot solution when allergies are flaring up.
Do you have any allergy remedies that have worked wonders for you? I’d love to hear about them! Message me and let me know what has worked for you.
Thank you for reading. I hope this helps! Scroll down and subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss out on any posts.