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Heather's Health Habits, LLC

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The truth about allergies and your health

April 8, 2019

This wacky weather is causing allergy suffers everywhere to feel the affects. Even if you haven't had allergies before, you may be noticing that your sinuses are congested, you have a runny nose or post nasal drip. I never had allergies growing up but as an adult, I am more sensitive to the change of seasons.

 

Part of the reason seasonal allergies are so prevalent is the deterioration of our climate. As our planet gets warmer, pollen lives longer. The increase in carbon dioxide in the environment means plants release higher amounts of pollen and the potency of the pollen has increased. (Source: Motherboard Vice)

 

What exactly is an allergy? An allergy is the body's response to an imbalance and the creation of histamine. Histamine is our bodies natural defense mechanism to an allergy. The body produces histamine to fight what it considers an allergy. (Source: WebMD)  The body can be allergic to food, pollen, animals and insects. There are many ways you can test for allergies.

 

If you suspect a food allergy, take a delayed food allergy test. Better than the traditional pin-prick method, a delayed food allergy test is done via an analysis of a blood sample. Just like getting your cholesterol checked! But the benefit of having a delayed food allergy test is that the blood analysis can identify foods you ate 56 days ago! The pin-prick test can only detect foods that were most recently eaten. If you are interested in a delayed food allergy test, you can discuss it with your doctor and contact The Great Plains Laboratory for more information.

Some people try the elimination diet to see how they feel after they stop eating certain foods for a period of time. This is a long process given you are guessing which foods are causing allergies. Getting the blood test identifies exactly what foods are allergens. Once you know the foods you are allergic to, you can cut them out of your routine right away. Don't be fooled that food allergies only cause digestive reactions. Food allergies also cause sinus congestion since histamine levels are high as the body fights the food allergy.  

 

Once you determine your sinus congestion is not being caused by a specific food, you can use the four tips below to relieve your congestion. The four tips are lifestyle changes that will help you deal with sinus congestion over the long-term. If you have a severe case, over-the-counter medicine or a trip to the doctor may be necessary. However, using over-the-counter or prescription medication as a long-term solution can cause disease and illness in other parts of the body. 

 

#1 SUPPORT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Our immune system fights for our overall health. When an allergen is detected, our immune system jumps into action. If the immune system is compromised, the allergen can lead to a more serious infection. Taking dietary supplements regularly supports a strong immune system. Two of the best supplements to take for allergens are Vitamin C and Quercetin.

 

Vitamin C: You are probably thinking of course! But Vitamin C is one of the best vitamins you can take daily. Not only does it support the immune system but it makes our blood vessels more pliable. When your blood vessels are more pliable, inflammation is not setting in, which is a result of an allergy. I like drinking Emergen-C in 16 ounces of water every other day. Not only do I get 1,000 mg of Vitamin C per packet, but it makes water a little more interesting. You can also take Vitamin C tablets daily. 

Quercetin: You may have never heard of Quercetin before, but it is one of the most powerful antioxidants you can take. It provides incredible support against allergic responses. Quercetin is found in high amounts in organic apples and blueberries. When using a supplement, take at least 500mg in the morning and in the evening. The immune system is most active from 11:00 PM to 3:00 AM, so taking a supplement in the evening will increase the benefit to the immune system.

 

Before starting any vitamin routine, make sure to check with your doctor or a board certified holistic nutritionist. 

 

#2 EAT ORGANIC FOOD & DRINK CLEAN WATER

Chemicals and pesticides impact our bodies ability to fight allergens. When we ingest chemicals and pesticides from conventionally grown foods, our body tries to fight the unknown substance we have eaten. Over time, our body becomes fatigued from fighting the chemicals and pesticides, making it harder to overcome illnesses, such as allergic response. Organic food eliminates the chemical burdens on our bodies. Allowing them to fight for our health.

 

Eliminating the chemicals in our water also helps our bodies stay strong. Sometimes people tell me organic food and clean water is too expensive. Think about it this way, making the change to eating organic food and drinking clean water will benefit your life a thousand times more than buying another thing for the house, apartment or another article of clothing. How much stuff do we really need? An investment in organic food is an investment in our health.

 

#3 ESSENTIAL OILS

Have you tried essential oils yet? If not, you really need to. They can be inhaled, added to foods and drinks or simply applied on your skin after they are diluted with a carrier oil. A study published in 2016 demonstrated that participants who were given a mix of essential oils to inhale were relieved of allergy symptoms, experienced reduced fatigue and had better quality of life. (Source. NCBI) The essential oils that were used in the study were sandalwood, frankincense and Ravensara, blended in almond oil. 

 

I use eucalyptus oil in both a steam diffuser and in a diffuser necklace for congestion relief. I also put a couple of drops on my pillow at night. Also, when purchasing essential oils look for USDA organic essential oils. This makes sure that you are buying a responsibly produced oil. If you are unsure of how to start using essential oils, you can contact industry professionals from reputable institutions such as the Tisserand Institute

#4 NETI POT

A post on allergies can not be complete without highlighting the Neti Pot. The Neti Pot is a great tool to use even when you aren't suffering from sinus congestion. Cleaning the nasal passages is a beneficial routine that keeps sinus congestion and allergic responses away. In fact, in Ayurveda, the nasal wash is considered very beneficial to help keep a person balanced by eliminating some of the congestion generated while we sleep.

 

When using a Neti Pot, make sure to use distilled water. Tap water contains chemicals and the last thing you want to do is expose the delicate nasal passages to chemicals. Neti pots and prepackaged saline solutions can be easily found online and in some retail stores. It may take a little getting used to but you will definitely feel the difference once you start using it. 

 

I hope you enjoyed learning about natural solutions that will increase the health of your immune system and provide relief from allergies.

 

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