8 Holistic Remedies to Help Alleviate Seasonal Allergies
To put it plainly, seasonal allergies suck. The reason we feel so lousy when spring has (FINALLY) sprung is because our bodies overreact to something in the environment. Each season can bring a different set of allergens, but for most, spring can be the hardest. Here are 8 simple tips that can help holistically alleviate some of your springtime allergy woes.
1. Local Honey
Purchasing local honey will not only help a local business, but it will also help build your immune system. When bees pollinate, they take some of the pollen with them, which then gets carried into the honey. By eating trace amounts of the pollen in your honey, you are building an immunity to the pollen you may be allergic to. So next time you buy honey, buy local. If you’re not sure where to buy, check health food stores, farmer’s markets and even your local supermarket. Some of my favorites are Local Hive Honey (Midwest), Honeyrun Farms Raw Ohio Honey, and L.R. Farms Honey, made right here in Powell, Ohio.
2. Adequate Sleep
We all know that getting enough sleep is ALWAYS a good thing. When we are sleeping, our bodies are in a state of recovery and restoration. Sleep is also a huge player in our immune system. Quality sleep = quality T-cells (the cells that help fight infection). 7-9 hours of sleep per night is the recommended amount for an adult, but do not be afraid to listen to your body and sleep more when feeling under the weather.
We are constantly learning more and more about the role the gut plays in our overall health. For me, one of the biggest takeaways has been that 70% of our immune system lives in our gut. Probiotics are the friendly gut bugs that are working hard at keeping you healthy, and a healthy gut means a healthy you! Consuming fermented foods and beverages can be a great place to start. Some options are high quality yogurt, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut. If fermented foods aren’t your thing, consider a probiotic supplement. As always, consult with your practitioner before starting any new supplements.
4. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos (also known as African red bush tea) has been used for centuries to help alleviate allergies. Rooibos is an herbal tea (caffeine free) that is low in acid and tannins, and is full of the powerhouse antioxidant quercetin, which is not only a natural antihistamine, but also helps boost immunity. This antioxidant is found in many plant sources, including apples, onions, berries, broccoli, grapes, and several other tea leaves. Check out the recipe below for a soothing rooibos tea, which is a staple in my house whenever allergies flare up.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Unless you’ve lived in a cave, you have most likely witnessed (or been a part of) the ACV trend. When something gains popularity so fast, it can be easy to poke holes in its efficacy. That’s not the case with apple cider vinegar. Like rooibos, ACV is full of quercetin. When taken regularly, it can also help remove toxins, cleanse the lymphatic system, increase good bacteria in your body, and break up mucus. Try a salad with a homemade apple cider vinaigrette, or an immunity boosting shot. The internet is full of different recipes for the shots, look for one with a touch of turmeric and ginger to help boost immune function and soothe inflammation.
6. Proper Hydration
Just like most of us can say we could use more sleep, most of us can probably say we need to drink more water. 75% of us are in a state of chronic dehydration. It is even more important when we are not feeling well to stay hydrated. Proper hydration helps our bodies run smoothly and eliminate toxins and thin mucus, which in turn can minimize congestion. Warm water with lemon, herbal tea, broth and just plain ol’ water will help you stay hydrated when you are feeling under the weather.
7. Neti Pot
If you know, you know. This may be a controversial one. The Neti Pot is not for everyone, and I highly recommend doing a bit of research before using one. A saline rinse of your sinuses can be effective in removing dirt and pollen, as well as thinning mucus. I find it to be a game changer if I use it at the onset of a cold or allergy flare up. They are not for everyone. For MOST, they can be effective. If you choose to use one, ALWAYS use clean, filtered water in the rinse solution.
8. EAT THE RAINBOW!
Last, but most definitely not least: eat the rainbow! This will not be the last time I say this. Eating a diet that primarily consists of plant sources and is rich in (natural) color will always be beneficial to your immune system and overall health. Eating colorful foods, full of polyphenols (compounds found in plants that give them their radiant color) will keep your immune system strong, decrease inflammation and risk for chronic disease. Be intentional with your eating. Start by adding at least 3 different colors of produce to your meals each day. Trust me, your body will thank you.
Spring can be one of the most beautiful times of the year, but if you suffer from seasonal allergies, it can be one of the most frustrating. By adopting some of these remedies, you can get out there and enjoy the season before it passes you by.