An allergy is a result of an overreaction by our immune system to a foreign substance or “allergen.” We may be exposed to these substances through the foods we eat, the air we breathe or the medications we take. With all the different possible allergens in our environment, it is no wonder that an estimated 50 million Americans today suffer from all types of allergies. Allergies are the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S. among all ages, and the 3rd most common chronic disease among children under 18 years old. However with proper prevention and nutrition allergies can be managed.
Tips For Preventing Allergies
- Use impermeable pillows and mattress covers.
- Remove carpets and try to vacuum on a weekly basis.
- Don’t wear shoes inside.
- Wash bedding in hot water.
- Prevent build-up of allergens with an air filter.
- Remember to clean your air conditioning filters often.
- Limit travel time during peak pollen times.
- Keep car windows closed when traveling.
- Stay indoors when humidity is high and winds are gusting.
- Shower after extended hours outside to wash off the pollen on your skin.
- Wear sunglasses to help keep pollen out of your eyes.
- Don’t hang your clothes outside to dry.
Supplements For Allergies
- Vitamin C– is an essential nutrient that cannot be synthesized by humans. Therefore it must be obtained through diet and supplements. Vitamin C has anti-histamine properties and some preliminary research suggest it might aid in reducing allergy symptoms due to its role in our immune system and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Urtica Dioica – commonly known as stinging nettles, this herbal plant has the ability to reduce histamine in the body. The nettles leaves are very good for all types of allergies and may help to reduce the sneezing and itching associated with seasonal allergies.
- Quercetin – a bioflavonoid found in red wine, grapefruit, onions, apples and black tea. Research has shown that it stabilizes parts of the cells that release histamine, the major chemical responsible for allergies thus reducing triggers for allergic symptoms. It can also reduce production of other chemicals responsible for inflammation and airway constriction.
- Bromelain – a proteolytic enzyme found naturally in pineapples. Part of the reason it’s great for allergies is due to its anti-inflammatory and mucolytic properties. Meaning it helps reduce inflammation associated with hay fever and breaks down mucus. Bromelain also aids in the absorption of quercetin, one of the key supplements used for allergies.
- Probiotics – contain live beneficial bacteria. It is believed that the presence of these beneficial bacteria in the gut can help decrease the incidences of allergies and allergic rhinitis.
- Hot chili peppers, horseradish and other hot mustards work well as decongestants. In fact, a 2009 study showed that nasal sprays containing capsaicin improved nasal allergy symptoms.
- Daily netti pot use with filtered water and/or saline is also a helpful way to prevent allergen build up in the sinuses.