Unfortunately, reports show that this year could be a tough one for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. You know the symptoms; sneezing, watery, itchy eyes, and a runny nose. Typically, I don’t have to deal with allergies until the farmers begin to cut hay in the fall but experts say this year may be worse than ever. Allergens flood the air and I try my best to cope but, sadly, some of my favorite rides go past these beautiful rural farms.
When we encounter allergens, our bodies try to mount an attack on foreign invaders (pollen) by releasing histamine or leukotrienes, causing inflammation. These chemicals then cause sneezing, coughing, runny nose and watery eyes to help get rid of these nasty little invaders.
I’ve found a few tips to help reduce or alleviate symptoms -and some of the suffering -over the years:
- Change clothes and shower immediately after outdoor workouts to keep pollen from coming inside.
- Exercise indoors (if you must) with air conditioning to keep the allergens to a minimum.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses to keep pollen from getting into your eyes and hair.
- Vacuum carpets with a HEPA filter often to trap allergens and keep your home as pollen free as possible.
- Change the air filters in your home every month during allergy season.
- Use a Neti Pot with saline solution to rinse allergens out of your nasal passages.
- Take herbs such as Butterbur, Grape Seed, Mullein, Echinacea and Goldenseal to support your immune system.
- Drink Peppermint Tea. The essential oils in peppermint act like a decongestant and have anti-inflammatory properties. Inhale the steam for an added benefit.
- Eat Wasabi to open up sinuses.
The following healthy foods can also be eaten to support overall health:
- Carotenoids contain beta-carotene that may help reduce allergy symptoms. Good sources include carrots, apricots, butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, kale and dark leafy greens.
- Apples (with the skin) contain the flavonoid Quercetin which may have an antihistamine effect.
- Omega-3 EFAs may help counter allergy symptoms caused by leukotrienes or histamines.
- Ginger is a natural antihistamine and decongestant.
- Fiber in the diet can help keep the colon healthy and active and can help decrease food sensitivity, lightening the burden on the immune system.
- Following a Gluten-free diet may also help reduce the load on your immune system and help keep symptoms away!