Guest Blogger - Ruth Clark, RD, LD, MPH
It is such a gorgeous time of year here in the Monadnock region. The leaves are out, the flowering trees are beautiful, but pollen is everywhere! I have glass top wicker tables on my porch that are covered with pollen now.
Fortunately, that is as aggravating as the allergy season gets for me.
Not true for so many others. If you suffer from allergies, budding and flowering trees are a reminder of misery instead of joy and beauty. In fact, allergies are the most common health issue effecting children in the US and the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in adults.
You may have noticed that more and more people are suffering from allergies than ever before. Our immune systems are increasingly exposed to toxins, pollutants, chemicals in personal care products, medications, food additives, and so on. As a result, our immune system gets overloaded and doesn’t function optimally. It tends to over react which makes us more sensitive to allergens and sensitivities.
Conventional treatment of allergies relies on over the counter drugs or prescription medications. There are some reasons why you might want to think twice about this approach. Allergy medications are designed to counteract the effect of histamine production in the body. Histamine is the substance that causes all those nasty symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing.
But it’s important to understand that medications only treat symptoms and don’t create a cure. And the side effects of medications including drowsiness, impaired performance, restlessness, insomnia, dryness of the eyes, nose and mouth, abdominal distress and heart palpitations can be very uncomfortable.
Medications can also make you feel worse because they do nothing to balance the immune system. Very simply, allergies are an inflammatory condition that causes a shift from the T helper 1 (Th1) response toward a more predominant T helper 2 (Th2) response.
Natural treatment of allergies can be just as effective as medication, without the side effects. Changes in diet, supplements, and essential oils can make a big difference. During last year’s allergy season, I wrote a comprehensive article, Natural Treatment of Seasonal Allergies, which you can access on my blog on the website www.SmartNutritionLLC.com. This will give you some great basics information on how to treat allergies nutritionally.
Since last year’s allergy season, I have learned several other approaches that may be helpful to better balance the immune system specifically the T helper 1 and 2 balance.
4 More Tips to Balance your immune system to fight allergies
The great advantage of acupuncture is that it is safe and side effects are relatively uncommon. Another major benefit of acupuncture is that it can be a very relaxing experience. Stress is known to cause the release of hormones and neurotransmitters like histamine that lead to more allergy symptoms. Take some time and chill this allergy season.
Don’t forget to check my blog for more tips on how to beat the allergy season naturally.
Melissa Mustapha Herbalist/Manager at Maggie's Market