Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? These occur when the immune system misinterprets a typically nontoxic substance such as pollen, grass, or mold as a harmful invader. The immune system then responds to this perceived threat by releasing histamines. Histamines produce a whole host of reactions including sneezing, nasal and respiratory congestion, itchy eyes, and increased mucous production.
Here are 6 surefire steps to bring you allergy relief:
1. Reduce stress in your life.
Stress and anxiety can make allergies last longer and become stronger. Stress depresses our immune system by stimulating the continuous release of proinflammatory cytokines. Take action and decrease stress in your life by consistently getting 8 hours of sleep and practicing a mind-body relaxation technique like meditation or yoga, and eliminating inflammatory foods like dairy, fried processed, and refined foods.
2. Make your own sinus rinse. (It’s easy.)
Nasal saline sinus rinses are a powerful way to decrease inflammation and the risk of infection in the nasal passages and sinuses. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommends the following recipe:
- In a clean container, mix 3 heaping teaspoons of iodide-free salt with 1 rounded teaspoon of baking soda.
- Store in a small airtight container.
- Add 1 teaspoon of the mixture to 8 ounces (1 cup) of lukewarm distilled or boiled water.
- Use fewer dry ingredients to make a weaker solution if burning or stinging is experienced.
- For children, use a half-teaspoon with 4 ounces of water.
3. Boost your zinc intake.
People with low levels of zinc are more likely to suffer from allergies. Eat foods like cremini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, and venison to increase your intake of this important mineral. Other good sources include: asparagus, chard, scallops, lamb, beef, maple syrup, shrimp, green peas, yogurt, oats, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, turkey, miso, and spelt.
4. Drink green tea.
A type of polyhenol in green tea called catechin is effective in reducing allergy symptoms. Catechin decreases excessive levels of histamines, which cause a battery of allergy symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Sip on green tea throughout the day to combat excessive histamine release.
5. Say hello to foods with quercetin.
The bioflavanoid quercitin has been called a “secret weapon” in combating excessive histamine. Foods rich with quercetin include: onions, capers, broccoli, leafy greens, cranberries, apples, and raspberries.
6. Eat foods to support healthy mucous membranes.
Vitamin A helps strengthen the integrity of the mucous membranes. Increase Vitamin A-rich foods in your diet such as cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, persimmon, pumpkin, beet greens, carrots, collards, parsley, spinach, winter squash, green onions, and apricots to make your mucous membranes healthier.