We have evolved with the changing seasons for millions of years. So what’s going on that we have become allergic to Spring? Some folks are so allergic in fact, they cannot even leave their home and venture outside on high pollen days.
I’ve had clients tell me, “My Allergist told me to shut all of my windows and get an air purifier.” Really? Is locking yourself into your home the only way to make it through allergy season? I would suggest we look into nature for some answers.
Have you ever seen a bird, squirrel or raccoon suffering with allergies or hayfever? Animals may sneeze a few times as pollen enters their nose, but soon the discomfort passes and they continue going about their day sneeze-free.
Humans, on the other hand, can become so debilitated during the spring that they barely function: eyelids become red and itchy and swollen shut, runny nose, uncontrollable sneezing attacks, congested head and upper respiratory system.
Not being able to see, smell and breathe totally stinks! But, there are many reasons why we are suffering:
- Lack of local and seasonal foods
- Hyper-sensitive immune system
- Congested detoxification pathways
Traditionally, we have eaten a variety of local and seasonal foods throughout the year. This rotation of foods contained various flavors and plant constituents that supported the organ systems and their functions.
Most modern people are eating large quantities of mono-crops throughout the year and don’t vary their diet. Broccoli is certainly good for you, but eating broccoli every day, three-hundred and sixty-five days per year, is not. Broccoli is also one of those vegetables that can grow without being pollinated. If you are NOT exposed to tiny bits of pollen in your food, you may have a stronger reaction to it when you come in contact with it outside in the air. Plant foods that do NOT need to be pollinated include: all leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, root veggies (carrots, parsnips, potatoes and sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, rutabagas), legumes like beans and peas, celery, onions, leeks and many herbs. If the above plant foods make up the majority of your diet, you may think you are eating healthfully, but could be missing out on little bits of pollen that can help improve your immunity. Plants that need to be pollinated include tree fruits, berries, melons, cucumber, squashes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and edible flowers.
Many folks in the health and wellness industry rely on raw local honey to help boost seasonal immunity, which is great, but it would also be wise to include some pollinated plants into your diet as well.
Eating the same food over and over again can also promote food allergies and sensitivities that can weaken overall immunity. More than 70% of your immunity lives in your gut. The wider your diet, the more you are exposed to, and your immune system can expand its knowledge of what is good for you and what is not.
When the immune system is in a weakened state, it can become hypersensitive and reactive (overreacting) to everything your body, skin, and respiratory system comes in contact with including dander, pollen, grass, dirt and mold.
Lastly, if the detoxification pathways are congested with excess mucus and waste, you will probably be allergic to everything! A sluggish lymphatic system doesn’t move waste out of your body in a timely manner. If your body is filled with waste, none of your systems will function well (digestive system, respiratory system, immune system, and cardiovascular system).
With all of these potential contributors to seasonal allergies, what can you do to help yourself stop suffering and start enjoying spring again? Here are 5 easy remedies:
- Drink Water: Sounds too simple, right? Wrong! Make water your number one go-to beverage to help flush waste out of your body in a timely manner. If your body is filled with waste, you will be a big ball of mucous.
- Eat Local and Seasonal: this means alter your food as the seasons change. Do NOT eat the same food all year round. If you give your body a wide variety of plants, it will be healthier and happier. By broadening your palate, you can open up your body’s ability to enjoy life on a larger scale.
- Boost Immunity: This happens organically when you begin eating locally and seasonally, but you can give your system a lift with specific immune boosting foods like mushrooms: Reishi mushroom (in decoction), shitake, maitake mushrooms, and morels. By the way, most mushrooms grow in the spring and fall, which is also high allergy season. Eat them.
- Do a Detox – Make sure your detoxification pathways are running smoothly all year round, plus do a yearly detox in the spring. Support your liver, digestive system and urinary system with detoxifying food and herbs. Learn more about that here: Love Your Liver and Detoxify Naturally!
- Get Your Lymph Moving – the lymphatic system not only transports immune cells where they need to go, it removes waste from the cells. If the lymph is not moving well, you are going to be congested. The best way to move your lymphatic system is to move your body. Go for a run in the park, take a brisk daily walk, jump up and down on a trampoline, or simply do jumping jacks. I say “simply” because we were ALL taught how to do jumping jacks in pre-school. So, start jumping!
Incorporate these remedies into your routine and over time you should be able to enjoy spring and all of its pollinating beauty without a box of tissues.
Wishing you a happy, sneeze-free, Spring!