Spring has sprung! And while I'm sure we all love the beautiful buds bursting from the trees, if you're one of the 55 million Americans that suffers from seasonal allergies, you may not be quite so eager to get outside and enjoy the season.
Diet can make a huge difference in how much (or how little) you suffer. First off, if you have any true food allergies, avoid those food at all costs! You want to alleviate the misery, not add to it. So if pineapple gives you a fuzzy tongue, or raw nuts make your throat itch, stay away. Good idea to steer clear of alcohol and other foods high in histamines as well, such as grapes, ciders, and aged cheeses.
Next, if you have food sensitivities, to gluten or dairy for example, avoid those as well. You want to eat as anti-inflammatory a diet as possible to not fire up your immune response. If you're not sure if you have food sensitivities, you can do an elimination diet for 2 weeks or get a simple blood test called an IgG food sensitivity test. ( Contact me if you'd like to discuss in more detail.)
An anti-inflammatory diet would be high in fish, nuts and fresh produce. Studies support the benefits of these foods in reducing the symptoms of allergies and for kids, reducing the development of allergies later in life. Taking fish oil can also be a preventative measure. Green tea is high in antioxidants and also reduces inflammation. Check out Dr. Weil's anti-inflammatory food pyramid for a more complete list.
Perhaps you've also heard the trick of eating local honey to desensitize you to the pollen in your environment. Andrew's Honey at the Union Square Greenmarket sells honey gathered from hives on rooftops, balconies and community gardens in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. If you'd like to order some through my meal delivery service , just drop me a line!
Finally, certain supplements have been shown to alleviate allergy symptoms. Quercetin and Vitamin C are powerful natural antihistamines. Butterbur is another safe herbal supplement that matches the relief of allergy medications, without the side effects. And as mentioned above, fish oil, whether in the form of fish or supplements, is a strong anti-inflammatory aid.
My personal experience with hay fever is that the cleaner I eat, the less I suffer. I used to have debilitating symptoms, to the point that for a couple weeks of every year, I didn't want to go outside and wouldn't even open the windows to my apartment, for fear that pollen would come in along with the fresh air. But with regular detoxification and a healthy, clean diet the majority of the time, I find that I have less seasonal allergy symptoms with every new Spring. Fingers crossed that this is the year that I won't have any symptoms at all!