If you or someone you love suffers from seasonal allergies, then you know that most prescription and over the counter medications are not terribly helpful. Most have annoying side effects, such as drowsiness, which makes it very difficult to take during the day. Many allergy patients turn to alternative therapies to treat their symptoms, adopting a holistic approach to the problem. One such therapy involves changing your diet, attempting to rid your body of all potential allergens so your immune system can be strengthened.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies are different from other allergies that are triggered by certain foods, or indoor allergens such as pet dander and dust. Seasonal allergies are brought on by pollen in the air, which changes according to season. Trees, grasses, weeds and ragweed are all triggers of seasonal allergies. They occur year-round, even in cold climates, as pollen can travel on the wind for thousands of miles. So, your potential trigger may not even be growing in your backyard.
What Are the Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies are also known as hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. The symptoms include:
- Itchy, runny nose
- Tickle in throat
- Itchy, watery eyes
Generally, you will not run a fever or have symptoms that indicate a cold, such as coughing. These symptoms are annoying, but are not serious unless you develop an infection. If so, then you will need to see a doctor.
Seasonal Allergies and Processed Foods
Because seasonal allergies are difficult to treat without taking medications that cause drowsiness, you may try to find ways to circumvent the allergic response altogether. By building up your immune systems and avoiding other potential allergens, you can strive to live an allergy-free existence.
One way to decrease potential allergens is to avoid processed foods. Processed foods are convenience foods such as fast food meals, frozen dinners, boxed dinners and the like–food that is convenient but has been highly processed in order to provide that convenience. Processed foods generally have a long list of unidentifiable ingredients and contain preservatives, additives and fillers. These extra ingredients usually contain the top 8 food allergens:
- Dairy (casein)
- Tree nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds)
These ingredients are the most common food allergens in the typical American diet. By avoiding foods that contain these allergens, you can boost your immune response, since your body is not under “constant attack” from allergens stemming from the foods you eat. Allergic responses to food can also mimic the symptoms of seasonal allergies, so you can often pinpoint what’s causing your allergies by eliminating these foods from your diet.
Avoiding processed foods also has the added benefit of boosting your health in general. Eating fresh, whole foods is more beneficial for your digestive system, immune system and your waistline than indulging in processed treats.
Other Ways to Treat Allergies
Avoiding processed foods is just one part of a holistic regimen. Other factors may include:
- Using a neti pot to cleanse your sinus cavities of irritants
- Upping your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids
- Practicing yoga
- Avoiding sugary foods
- Taking homeopathic remedies
If you have further questions about how to treat your seasonal allergies naturally, a holistic practitioner will help you develop a plan of action.