If you are one of the thousands of people who suffer from seasonal allergies, you know how exasperating they can be. The over-the-counter and prescription remedies for these allergies usually trigger a host of frustrating side effects that make them difficult, if not impossible to take. As a result, more and more allergy sufferers are trying to find holistic ways to treat seasonal allergies. Some methods involve adding certain foods or supplements to your diet. Others involve removing foods that trigger allergic responses. In this article, we will explore the link between refined sugar and seasonal allergies.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies are different from other types of allergies, such as allergies caused by indoor pollutants or foods. These allergies are triggered by pollens in the air. These pollens change by season, depending upon which trees, grasses, weeds, or ragweeds are in bloom. However, since pollen can be carried on the wind for thousands of miles, the pollen that triggers your allergies may not even be from your neighborhood. If you live in a climate that gets very cold in winter, you may have a brief respite from these allergies. Others will likely suffer from them year-round.
What Are Seasonal Allergy Symptoms?
Seasonal allergy symptoms are also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. They differ from the symptoms of the common cold, as there is usually no coughing or fever involved unless you develop an infection. The common symptoms of hay fever are:
- Runny, itchy nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Scratchy throat
While none of these symptoms are serious, they can develop into an infection if they last for a long period of time. If you are concerned, please consult with your primary care physician.
Sugar and Seasonal Allergies
Many people try to keep seasonal allergies from occurring by strengthening their immune systems. Since the pollen in the air triggers a histamine (immune system) response from your body, your body is constantly fighting off attacks during allergy season. By strengthening the immune system, the idea is most allergies can be headed off at the pass and will never develop into full-blown hay fever.
The way that many people choose to strengthen their immune systems is by avoiding foods that provoke an immune response. Overly processed foods and foods that trigger an inflammatory response from your body can weaken your immune system over time, making you less able to combat other allergens, especially pollen in the air.
Refined sugar is another culprit in the battle to overcome allergies. Studies show that 3 ounces of sugar can actually suppress your immune system within 30 minutes of consumption--a response that can last up to 5 hours. Since the typical American eats nearly one and a half times that amount on a daily basis, eliminating or even just reducing the amount of sugar you consume in a day could significantly improve your chances of taking on seasonal allergens.
Other Points to Consider
Eliminating sugar alone probably will not keep you from developing seasonal allergies. But when combined with other holistic forms of therapy, it can be a powerful weapon against hay fever. Some other therapies to try include:
- Upping your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids
- Eliminating processed foods from your diet
- Sticking to a vegan diet
- Practicing yoga
- Using a neti pot to wash allergens out of your sinuses