This post addresses seasonal, environmental, and animal dander allergies; the kind that make for running noses, itchy eyes, scratchy throats, and lots of sneezing.
Controlling allergies requires focus on two things:
minimizing the body’s reaction
To reduce allergy symptoms, consider the following suggestions:
Wash hands often
Avoid touching eyes
Use home air filtration, change furnace filters every 3 months
Keep windows closed (during hay fever season if you suffer)
Use hypoallergenic bedding
Create an allergy-free sleeping environment
Cleanse sinuses often (check out “sinucleanse,” “nasaline”)
Drink lots of water to dilute allergens
*Avoid any suspected or known FOOD allergens/sensitivities.
*Reduce burden on immune system by decreasing stress, getting good sleep and eating the right foods
Many people with allergies are very familiar with the above list except are unaware that allergies are affected by the last two: food allergens and a stressed immune system. First, food allergies can exacerbate environmental allergies (and vice versa). Many times we are sensitive to a food we eat regularly, thinking it’s just fine, and other times we eat foods that are not allergens per se, but create inflammation or mucous by their very nature (sugar, gluten and dairy are big offenders here!). My biggest dietary recommendation when I see a kid with a chronically drippy nose is to cut out the dairy and see what happens.
It’s hard to limit our kids' diet, especially their favorite foods. However, when we stress the body with a food it doesn’t like, allergen or not, the burden will result in a greater environmental allergy response. I see this all the time! The same goes for burdening the immune system with stress, poor sleep, and uncontrolled chronic infections.
My take-home point here is this: Anything disrupting a person's health can exacerbate other symptoms. We are a whole organism and the holistic view of allergy relief (and many symptoms for that matter) is to bring the body back to balance in all the ways that we can.
It’s my personal holistic belief that the deepest relief comes from getting your total health in order.
Generally, for allergy relief, supplements and herbs need to be taken often throughout the day (2-4 times), preferably away from food. I find that these remedies, including the food sources, give allergy relief within minutes.
Some of the all-star remedies for kids are:
Allergy relief from the pantry and garden – eat often!
Foods High in Vitamin C:
Acerola powder, rose hips, chili peppers, guava, parsley, currants, kiwi, goji berries, papaya, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, citrus (see allergy elixir smoothie recipe below)
Foods High in bioflavonoids:
Red/yellow/orange bell peppers, acai, berries, cranberries, prunes, citrus (the white pithy part), dark chocolate/cacao
Foods High in Quercitin (a bioflavonoid that acts like antihistamine)
Onions, apples, nettles, capers, grapes, dill, lovage (versatile plant that’s easy to grow)
Foods High in Omega 3 fats (reduce inflammation)
Cold water wild fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackeral, herring), walnuts/walnut oil, flax oil, chia seeds.
Foods that are Potent Anti-inflammatories
Foods that Acclimate Body to Local Allergens
Local raw honey (for kids over age 1 start with 1/4 tsp and work up to 1 tbsp daily), local bee pollen (start slow with 1 little piece of pollen and work up to 4 over days to confirm no allergy), honey comb (if you can score some fresh honeycomb, chew a piece like it’s gum for 30 minutes daily, after slow introduction).
Allergy Elixer Super-C Smoothie
Makes 3 cups
Vitamin C deserves its popularity. It has been shown to shorten the duration and symptoms of colds and flus. In addition, vitamin C is great for treating allergies by reducing histamine release.
This creamy green smoothie is rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids like Quercitin -- a perfect combination for anyone sneezing and sniffling. Lemon helps thin out mucus and the ginger and flax oil calm inflammation. Start your day with this allergy-busting smoothie and make extra to sip on all day. Kids love the tart taste and don’t even know they are drinking their allergy medicine (but teach them about it so they appreciate mother nature’s healing gifts!).
1 C. orange or papaya juice
1 kiwi- slice in half and scoop out flesh
1 C. berries of choice (fresh or frozen)
1 big handful of spinach (or 1 cup packed fresh nettles if you have them!)
Juice of 1/2 small lemon (around 1 tbsp)
1/2 square inch fresh ginger root, peeled
1 cup of apple with peel, chopped into pieces (1/2 small large apple)
1/2 small avocado
1 teaspoon raw local honey or to taste
Combine, blend and enjoy frequently.
Note: if you want this to give more sustained energy, add a serving of protein powder and it’s a complete meal.