Spring = Allergies in Sacramento

sneezeBy Brandy Neth-Aranjo

Spring is in full swing, which means seasonal allergies are in full bloom.

Being married to an allergy sufferer myself, I’m well aware of the irritating symptoms that come with the blossoms of spring. Many of my clients have mentioned that allergies have been especially bad this year, which makes any outdoor activity uncomfortable.

Most people with allergies have decided to either stay inside as much as possible (what a drag) or take medicine which leaves them feeling drugged and drowsy. I’m not sure which is worse, being unable to open the windows to enjoy our gorgeous weather or feeling like rehab is right around the corner.

So, you may ask, what exactly are allergies, and why do we suffer from the runny nose, itchy eyes and wheezing?

Allergy symptoms can be summed up in one word: inflammation. I lied, symptoms can be summed up in two words: histamines and inflammation.

As we know, histamines are produced as a defense mechanism by our body to protect itself, and in this case, histamines are being produced to protect against seasonal pollen. Histamines trigger the inflammatory response, and together they form the perfect storm, aka: runny nose and watery eyes.

The good news amongst all the tissues and red noses is that there are a few natural methods that actually work to relieve and prevent some of these seasonal allergy symptoms. No, they may not completely cure your symptoms, but they have been proven to provide at least a little relief so you can go outside and play without living in a bubble.

As I mentioned before, inflammation plays a big part in irritating our body, so one of the easiest ways to limit some of our symptoms is to simply eat anti-inflammatory foods. Anthocyanins have been known to contain anti-inflammatory properties, and are found in dark red and purple colored foods such as cherries, grapes, beets and plums.

Apples, cauliflower, onions, berries, cabbage and nuts contain a very powerful substance called Quercetin. Quercetin is an important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine. I guess it’s true what we’ve always heard: “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away.”

Another way to minimize allergy symptoms is to avoid foods that create and promote inflammation such as dairy, processed meats, processed sugar and nightshade vegetables.

There are even a few herbs that have been know to alleviate certain symptoms. Stinging nettle is quite effective in reducing inflammation and clearing congestion from your nose and chest.

Curcumin, in the spice turmeric, has been shown to be an effective natural anti-inflammatory treatment for allergy sufferers.

I know it sounds like an urban myth, but yes, raw local honey does indeed help allergy sufferers. I’m living proof of this, as I experienced pretty bad allergies the first year I moved to Sacramento. Regularly partaking in some local, raw honey has been a lifesaver for me. I usually get this from the most local source possible, usually the farmers market. I’ve been here since 2006 and only had the sniffles and headaches the very first  year.

If you’re experiencing seasonal allergies this spring, my heart goes out to you. Take good care of yourself and eat whole, organic, anti-inflammatory foods, and stay away from dairy and processed foods, and hopefully you can play outside very soon.

Happy Spring!!

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