If you suffer from spring allergies the promise of blooming flowers and warmer temperatures may translate into watery eyes, trouble breathing, and a pesky runny nose. Many allergy sufferers forget that you can eat to beat spring allergies- you just have to start early and not let the season surprise you! Here is my Spring Allergy prevention plan! Eat your way well!
1. Ditch the sugar.
Sugar, fat and salt are often the key ingredients in our winter comfort foods, but they don't help prepare us for the onslaught of spring allergies. Allergies, remember, are a result of an immune system in overdrive. Managing this immune system dysfunction means keeping gut bacteria balanced and intestinal yeast, like Candida, in control. Start removing sugar from your diet now to boost your immune system and lower your allergic response. Add up the total sugar grams in your drinks, foods and snacks. Aim to keep your sugar consumption under 40 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day.
2. Lower your dairy consumption.
Dairy can thicken mucus and congestion, making allergy symptoms worse and worsening Candida (yeast overgrowth in the body). Lower your dairy consumption to just a few servings per day and try healthier versions of dairy like yogurt, kefir, farmer's cheese or paneer. These versions of dairy put more bacteria in the belly, since they are often produced through the process of fermentation. The protein in dairy, casein, is broken down a bit more in these alternative forms, easing the work of the gut and decreasing the allergic response.
3. Eat apples.
Can an apple a day keep allergies away? Apples contain quercitin, a chemical with anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties. Quercitin has also been shown to lower amounts of interleukin 6, an inflammatory cytokine that causes the immune dysfunction responsible for allergies. Combine apples with your green smoothies or juices for an easy and delicious allergy remedy.
4. Eat garlic.
While we don't like garlic breath, eating raw garlic can prevent allergies. Garlic contains a compound (allium satvum) that help to minimize the allergic response while boosting immune function. Try eating some raw garlic everyday. My favorite trick is to take a few cloves and press the juice, adding it to my favorite dips. Just don't forget to chase it with a good mouthwash and tongue scraper!
5. Try black seed oil.
Black cumin seeds are gaining notoriety for many healing properties, including fighting allergies. Originating in the Middle East, black seeds were cited in middle eastern medical literature as the cure for everything from aging to indigestion. The oil from these seeds contains thymoquinone, a chemical that helps fight Candida and lowers the allergic response. Add black seed oil to your favorite salads, or take 1 teaspoon directly daily.
6. Eat fatty fish.
Salmon, tuna, and anchovies are fatty fishes with high levels of omega 3 fats, another important ingredient in the allergy equation. Omega 3 fats play a key role in managing both inflammation and the immune response, helping to lower histamine levels. Adding 2-3 servings per week of any of these fatty fishes weekly can help prevent allergies.
Switch up your palate before spring to have an allergy free season that you can enjoy!
Dr. Taz Bhatia is a board-certified physician, specializing in integrative and emergency medicine, pediatrics and prevention, with expertise in women’s health, weight-loss, hormone balance and nutrition. She attended Emory University, the University of Georgia and the Medical College of Georgia, and was a recipient of the Emily Gardner Award for Best Pediatric Resident in 2000. She is the author of the Superwoman RX and The 21-Day Belly Fix. Personal health challenges in her twenties combined with a broken health care system motivated Bhatia to pursue an alternative definition of health and healthy living. As a young resident, she was sick and without answers, and began searching for help to heal her health issues. Studying various systems of medicine including Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and Ayurveda, she found a wealth of information not yet taught in conventional medical schools. It led her to opening her now nationally-recognized practice, CentreSpring MD (formerly Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine). Today, Bhatia and her team work relentlessly to find a patient’s core health problems, their centre, in order to spring them forth in health, pulling from multiple systems of medicine, including integrative, functional, Chinese and holistic medicine.