It’s that time of year again. The time of year when the seasonal allergies kick in. The time when I feel like smacking that allergic bee with the stuffy nose and foreign accent that does the commercials for a decongestant. I get up every morning with a head that feels like lead and a Kleenex box that is almost empty. The problem was a lot worse when I was a child: It seemed that I was allergic to cats and dogs, feather pillows, and everything that grew outside. I had three different syrups that I was supposed to take. The pharmacist put them in dark brown bottles and I had to endure the awful taste like three times a day. There were also some over-the-counter remedies that my parents would try that included a white, milky liquid that was, I swear, the most horrible stuff that I have ever tasted. The only thing I remember about it was that it contained something from some kind of tree. The symptoms have lessened as I have gotten older; now an inconvenient plugged head instead of the whooping cough-like fits that I had when I was a kid.
The way that seasonal allergies work is that the body’s immune system responds to some kind of benign invader like a cat hair or some mold. In those who don’t suffer from allergies, the body has a genetic mechanism to help it realize that there is a false alarm. For those who suffer from allergies, however, that genetic code is missing, and the immune system overreacts. The histamines that the body produces are what causes all of the symptoms.
The first step in fighting allergies to get an accurate diagnosis. There are lifestyle changes and environmental modifications that can help. There is also a myriad of over-the-counter and prescription medications that you can take. For me, these medications work to alleviate the symptoms, but actually make me feel worse overall, thick and lethargic overall. Besides that, anything that you can boil down and make meth out of can’t be all that good for you.
Most all of the allopathic medical professionals maintain that there are no foods or drinks that can alleviate respiratory symptoms from allergies, despite all of the old wives tales that are out there. But some holistic health practitioners disagree. They believe that foods have different effects on the body and there are some foods that play an immuno-suppressing and immuno-enhancing role. The advice that they give may or may not have an effect on the allergy symptoms, but it’s probably not a bad idea to follow most of it anyway. Some believe that dairy products can increase the production of mucus. There has only been one scientific study about this and it said that there wasn’t any evidence that dairy consumption causes increased production of mucus. The other thing to avoid is sugar and processed foods. You should try to increase your intake of Omega-3’s, which have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables can help too. Blueberries and cherries are especially good because they are high in antioxidants. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. You can continue taking your medications if they work for you, and then explore the food possibilities to see of any of them work. By making the right nutritional choices, you may be able to cut down on the amount of medication that you take.