A Nutritional Approach to Seasonal Allergies

By:Dana Fawcett, RHN
You know the drill, right? The same time every year you’re hit with rotten allergies!  You reach for medication to stop the congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes, and throat!  Something, anything to stop this…
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But, what if the answer lies in your diet and lifestyle choices?


Allergies are a result of the hypersensitive response from the immune system when it comes in contact with an allergen through inhalation or ingestion.  It feels similar to a cold but is not caused by a virus.


The immune system assumes an allergen to be a pathogen and it reacts to eliminate the allergen by cleansing the irritants from the body.

A pathogen is an infectious agent like a virus, bacterium, prion, a fungus, or something similar.

Some of the key factors that influence allergies are hereditary in nature. If allergies run in your family then you are twice as likely to have them.


Also, exposure to second-hand smoke puts you at a significant risk of developing allergies.

  1. Symptoms
  • Sneezing
  • Red, itchy, watery, swollen eyes
  • Headaches
  • Dry cough
  • Facial pain
  • Partial loss of hearing, smell or taste
  • Dark circles under eyes
  1. Prevention

There is a clear connection between allergies and inflammation. Allergies are chronic inflammation in the body and the key to prevention is to find the cause of this inflammation.


Inflammation is part of the immune system’s defense against foreign invaders such as bacteria, and viruses to repair damaged tissue.


Anything that causes inflammation will only worsen seasonal allergies. Think anything processed – foods that come in wrappers, boxes, bags or cans, dairy, refined and artificial sugar, trans fat, hydrogenated oils, fried foods, colours, preservatives, grains, alcohol and conventionally farmed meat products should be kept to a minimum, if at all.

  1. Nutrition and Supplements

Taking daily multivitamins and making the right food choices can help you build your immune system.


Additionally, the following will help as well:

  • Daily intake of fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C. There is evidence to suggest that you can get too much vitamin C through supplements so just remember that for most people, a healthy diet provides a sufficient amount of Vitamin C. 
  • According to the University of Maryland research, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, allergies, and arthritis.
  • Turmeric has potential health benefits, aiding in immune support. Studies have shown that by taking a turmeric supplement, the potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can help immediately with inflammation.
  • Some amazing facts from the Journal of Immunology, Journal of Immunology Research and the University of Maryland Medical Center indicates that garlic’s naturally occurring chemical compounds (allicin, S-Ally cysteine, and ajoene) are responsible for inflammation reduction, improving mucus flow and reducing congestion.
  • Recent studies have also linked allergies to low Vitamin D levels. So, a daily supplement is recommended.
  • According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 70% of the immune system resides in the gut. A daily probiotic supplement would do wonders to keep your immune system optimal during the allergy season.   
  • Zinc helps support normal immune function. Foods that are rich in zinc are dark chocolate, sesame seeds, beef, turkey, peanuts, pumpkin seeds and most kinds of beans.
  1. Lifestyle Choices
  • Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly - something you enjoy doing.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation.
  • Get the required sleep that your body needs.

If you suffer from year-round allergies, seasonal, food, chemical, or environmental sensitivities, I would encourage you to follow a natural anti-inflammatory approach as mentioned above. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

  1. References
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric

https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed

http://www.jimmunol.org/

This article, and the products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please see your health care provider before taking any supplements or starting a new program.

Dana Fawcett is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) and owner of 360 Nutrition and Wellness. She is a member of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition Alumni Association. She is also a contributing author for Vertical Health at Spine Universe.com. Danas whole goal in life is to pay it forward by helping others. She loves teaching and writing on the topic of nutrition simply because it is the key to health. Holistic Nutrition allows people to look at the body as a whole by addressing exercise, nutrition, spirit and soul.

Dana loves all things that support the Holistic Nutrition approach to life, such as doing yoga, cooking, reading, writing, walking, hiking and water color painting.

She is a happily married mother of 3 beautiful children and lives in Newtonville, Ontario.

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