3 Natural Ways to Combat Seasonal Allergies
Allergy season is in full swing - but meds aren't the only options
By Christopher Mango, DC
Is there a better time of year than spring in New York City? After this particularly long winter, I can't think of anything more delightful than being able to get out of our apartments and enjoy the weather. But as an ex-allergy sufferer,I know that the return of sunny days can mean the return of headaches, sneezing and stuffy noses for many people.
What can be done to ease seasonal allergy symptoms? The most common solution is to take an over the counter antihistamine. Not only do these types of medications include typical side effects like drowsiness and confusion, however; daily antihistamine use is now being linked to a whole slew of long term effects including low libido, increased appetite, anxiety, and depression. It was my frustration with serious allergies and the lack of treatment options that started me on my journey in becoming an alternative health care provider. Below are some of things I tried myself 20 years ago, along with some new tips.
1. Balance your Inner PH. PH imbalance has become a major topic in the alternative health community over the past few years. The idea is that due to diet, (such as, processed food, grains, fried food, sugary drinks, too much meat) and stress, (lifestyle, emotional, environmental), we are stuck in an acidic internal environment. A PH that is too acidic promotes inflammation and weakens the immune system, which can result in an overactive allergy response. A food's actual PH has nothing to do with whether it is alkaline or acidic within the body. For example, lemons and limes are acidic, but if consumed they have an alkaline (or basic) effect on the body. In fact almost all fruits and vegetables, when eaten raw, have an alkaline effect on the body. So to restore the PH, eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables, while cutting back on processed foods and grains.
Another great way to balance your PH is by preparing a daily tonic of one tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon organic unprocessed raw local honey, which contains small amounts of bee pollen and acts as a vaccine, mixed with 8-12 ounces of water.
2. Adrenal Support. The adrenals are stress-handling glands that are located above the kidneys. An allergen is another stress to the body, so if the adrenals, which are responsible for controlling stress, are busy dealing with other issues, it's possible that they can't deal with this new external stress and our bodies react poorly. To help the adrenals during allergy season, it's best to support them with rest, exercise, proper nutrition and supplements. Be aware of your sugar and carbohydrate load. It's always best during allergy season to decrease these two so your adrenals can function at a higher level. Speak to your healthcare provider about trying an adrenal glandular, along with a B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, Omega 3 fish oil, (make sure on the label it lists EPA and DHA).
3. Eat Seasonally. Certain foods become readily available every spring from nature depending on where you live. Do you consider this a coincidence or is nature trying to tell us something? A lot of studies are starting to come out about the benefits of eating seasonally and locally. The nutrient and positive health properties found in these springtime fruits and vegetables are far superior than what you can get out of a freezer or can. So what produce is in season for the spring? Asparagus, radishes, delicate leafy greens like mache and arugula, fiddleheads, ramps, mushrooms, strawberries, peas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, chicory, cabbage, rhubarb, leeks, spinach, spring onions, purple-sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, watercress, dark green leafy vegetables, and garlic. Eat as much of the above as you would like, there is no limit or calorie counting when eating local seasonal fruits and vegetables. It's also important to decrease the amount of meat we consume. There is nothing wrong with meat, you just need to limit your protein at each meal to the size of a deck of cards. When possible buy free range, antibiotic-free "clean" meats and fishes.
Dr. Christopher Mango's practice, Mango Chiropractic, is at 2 East 76th Street.
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