Have you started sneezing, having sore throats, itchy eyes, headaches, runny nose? According to the CDC, over 30% of Americans have allergies AND some of the worse cities for allergies include San Antonio, Richmond, Mcallen, Wichita, and Scranton (shocking Atlanta, GA did not make it on the list). For some seasonal allergies can be super mild and for others it can really make it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities certain times of the year. While there are plenty of over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies, many people prefer to explore natural ways to manage their symptoms. Here are some effective natural ways to improve seasonal allergies from lifestyle considerations to supplements:
We breathe in potential allergens, dust, and other pollutants on a daily basis and can get trapped in the nasal passages/sinuses. I highly suggest saline flushing your sinuses after being outside for an extended period of time and every time you shower. I keep a bottle of saline spray in my shower as well so when I wash my hair and body – I can also flush my sinuses. For an extra bonus, you can use a saline flush + bee propolis/xylitol which can help with allergies. See our favorite below.
Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
This may seem unrelated but the foods we eat really impact our gut health, microbiome, and immune system. If we eat a diet rich in processed food and sugar, it will not only activate our inflammatory cascade but it will suppress your immune system. THIS study examined the effects of short-term elevated blood sugar on the innate immune system. Some examples of anti-inflammatory foods include leafy greens, berries, nuts, and fatty fish. These foods contain compounds like omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, which can help to reduce inflammation and support immune function.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and help to support immune function. Remember the best way to support a healthy gut microbiome is to eat a diet rich in high fiber plants- these naturally have prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in our gut. However there is some evidence to suggest that taking probiotic supplements can be helpful for managing seasonal allergies. A meta analysis of 28 studies found that probiotic supplementation was indeed beneficial in reducing allergic rhinitis and improving quality of life. We suggest taking a low histamine probiotic when allergy symptoms are flaring. Here is one we love:
Add Foods Rich in Quercetin (or Supplement)
Quercetin is a flavonoid that is found in many plant foods, including onions, kale, apples, broccoli, and berries to name a few. This compound has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties, which can make it helpful for managing seasonal allergies. Quercetin supplements are available in pill form, and can be taken daily to help reduce inflammation and improve immune function.
D-Hist is one of our favorite natural antihistamines that has quercetin in it; as well as BCQ which contains quercetin along with curcumin and boswellia for inflammation.
Limit High Histamine Foods
When seasonal allergies are flaring, it may be beneficial to reduce high histamine foods or add DAO enzymes before high histamine foods. Histamine is actually a neurotransmitter in the morning that can be elevated for a number of reasons outside of allergies. However, typically when seasonal allergies are flared histamine levels are elevated. High histamine foods include but are not limited to dairy (specifically aged cheeses and fermented dairy like yogurt), fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, dried fruit, avocado, cured meat, alcohol, spinach, eggplant, etc. If you are going to a happy hour or know you will be exposed to alcohol, cured meat, aged cheeses or any of the foods outlined above, you can take DAO enzymes before that meal to help break down dietary histamine which may make a difference when allergies are flaring. It is important to note that DAO enzymes to not help metabolize the histamine your body makes, only what you ingest through food. Here is the DAO enzymes we like:
Practice Mind-Body Techniques
Stress can weaken the immune system and make allergy symptoms worse. Mind-body techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help to reduce stress and improve immune function. These practices can also help to improve sleep, which is important for managing allergy symptoms. Incorporating these techniques into your daily routine can help to improve your overall health and reduce the severity of your allergy symptoms.
Use Local Honey
Honey has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for allergies. Local honey, in particular, is believed to be helpful for managing seasonal allergies because it contains small amounts of pollen from the local area. When you consume local honey, your body may develop a tolerance to the pollen, which can reduce your allergy symptoms over time. Try adding a spoonful of honey to your tea or eating it on its own to help manage your allergy symptoms.
Regular exercise can help to improve immune function and reduce inflammation, which can be helpful for managing seasonal allergies. Exercise can also help to improve lung function and reduce congestion, which can make it easier to breathe. However, it is important to limit exercising outdoors on days when the pollen count is high (or make sure to flush sinuses as soon as you get inside), as this can make allergy symptoms worse.
In conclusion, there are many natural ways to manage seasonal allergies. If your symptoms are severe or do not improve with these natural remedies, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider about other treatment options that may be available such as immunotherapy. When working with STAT Wellness, our goal is to further evaluate the root cause for immune system imbalances such as gut imbalances/dysbiosis, vitamin D deficiencies, low grade inflammation, and hormonal imbalances.
Call or text 404-254-5905 to schedule a consult with us today and you can see our FullScript Protocol HERE.
Now lets start overcoming allergies and thrive this Spring,
Kristin Oja, DNP, FNP-C, IFMCP
CEO + Founder of STAT Wellness