today i want to talk about a frustrating and troublesome pest…seasonal allergies!
40 – 50 million americans suffer from allergies every year. to be honest with you, i never knew i had seasonal allergies until this past year. a routine doctor’s visit ended with the question “so why haven’t you been taking your allergy medication?” i answered with a “huh? what? uh…” and told her i didn’t have allergies. in fact, i have always been (secretly) a little smug about not having to deal with them. i thought it was normal to be congested. always. all the time…
so, in the new found acknowledgment of my seasonal allergies, i wanted to share some preventative measures and natural remedies that can kick your allergies to the curb!
an ounce of prevention:
+ keep the windows shut
although the spring/summer breeze is quite lovely, opening those windows can fill your house with pollen. try to keep fans on instead or even better, use an air filter to keep the good air circulating.
+ keep your shoes by the door
shoes can track a lot of pollen and allergens into your home so try to leave them outside or by the door when you come in. you might also want to change into “house clothes” (my term for pajamas) when you come back home so that the pollen isn’t still around your skin and nose all night.
+ take local honey
if you aren’t vegan, eating a bit of local honey everyday can help acclimate your body to the local allergens. just take a spoonful once a day in your tea or just by itself!
+ use a neti pot
ok, back to the neti-potting but seriously, this can help prevent allergies from bothering you in the first place. rinsing your nasal passages everyday might feel weird (or even burn a little bit), but trust me, your sinuses will feel so clean and it will prevent allergen buildup, which is really uncomfortable and gross.
+ avoid foods you are (even slightly) allergic to
this may sound strange but even foods you are slightly allergic to (for example, i love pineapple but my tongue always swells a little bit whenever i eat it) can exacerbate your seasonal allergies. staying clear of those foods will help calm your body down so you can fight one allergy at a time. furthermore, certain food allergies, especially fruit and nut allergies, might actually be oral allergy syndrome. oral allergy syndrome (OAS) manifests as a reaction when certain fruits and nuts are eaten, but is in fact linked to different varieties of pollen.
+eat omega-3 fatty acids
omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your reaction to seasonal allergies. vegans can get these acids from a vegan omega-3 supplement (which i am currently shopping around for), walnuts or flaxseed/flaxseed oil. vegetarians can also get omega-3 from grass-fed eggs and others can get it from cold-water fish.
+ stinging nettle tea
stinging nettles are nature’s supergreen. they provide iron for women’s/menstrual health (which is also a critical mineral for a veg*n diet), they help prevent urinary tract infections (and who wants one of those?) and they also help keep your allergies at bay! if you aren’t familiar with stinging nettles, trust me, they do sting. take a look at bonzai aphrodite’s post on how to make a nettle infusion (which is just a fancy word for tea) and if possible, use fresh nettles instead of dried ones. just make sure you have some gloves on when you grab them!
+ horseradish, cayenne pepper and other spicy goodness (chili peppers, hot mustard, etc.)
using hot spices will temporarily de-congest your nasal passages and help you clear your sinuses. pepper your food with these babies and you will be breathing clearer in no time.
take a hot washcloth or a heated pouch (the ones that are filled with flax are really great) and place it over your nose and upper cheek area for a few minutes. take deep breaths and relax while the heat loosens up your sinuses.
+ saline spray
i use an all-natural saline spray (i have previously written about my personal favorite, xlear) and it has really helped combat my allergy symptoms. i spray twice in each nostril morning and night and it makes all the difference. it took a while to get used to (i don’t like spraying anything up my nose) but it is worth it.
last but not least, exercising will help heat your body and attack your allergy symptoms. working up a sweat (in whichever way your prefer) also expels toxins from your body, relieving that itchy, congested feeling and leaving you feeling energized and ready to take on the day!
hope these tips help you fellow allergy sufferers during this hard season. and please, let me know if i am missing any good remedies!