It’s spring time and that can mean time to get out and work in the yard or enjoy the warmer temperatures with your family. For millions of Americans, this time of year means only one thing—allergies. When the pollen count starts to climb, sinus troubles and allergies begin to flair up. As a matter of fact, 20% of the U.S. population suffers from some form of allergies. That’s over 50 million people. As people look for ways of treating these allergies, many are turning towards naturopathic medicine as an alternative for treatment. Here’s what you need to know about how to treat your seasonal allergies naturopathically.
Change Your Diet
It may seem odd at first, but the reality is that there is a close relationship between your allergies and your nutrition. For starters, how many of us drink enough filtered water? One way to calculate this is to take your weight in pounds and then change this to ounces and then halve that number. (In other words, 150 lbs. becomes 150 ounces, which when halved becomes 75 ounces.) That’s how much water (or unsweetened tea) you need to be drinking every day.
In addition, removing certain foods from your diet like alcohol, dairy, bananas, chocolate, peanuts, red meat, and sugar can be helpful. These foods have been shown to exacerbate sinus troubles. Finally, consider adding lots of pepper and spice to your diet including horseradish, chilies and curries. These can get your nasal passages open and running, which can prevent your sinuses from feeling blocked and backed up.
Another way to help your allergies is to take supplements. Some to consider:
• Ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits that can reduce your sneezing, particularly if you suffer from hay fever.
• Vitamin D when taken with a probiotic has also been shown to help with breathing difficulties, especially asthma.
• Probiotics by themselves can also help to reduce your nasal congestion.
• Quercetin should be taken about 4 to 6 weeks before the start of allergy season. The natural bioflavonoids in this substance can keep you from releasing histamines.
• Turmeric is a spice usually associated with Indian and Eastern cuisine, but it can also help act as a natural decongestant.
• Apple cider vinegar is not a traditional supplement, but if you mix it with water and drink it three times a day, you can clean out your lymphatic system and also reduce the amount of mucus you produce.
*Before beginning any supplement regimen – check with your naturopathic physician to make sure it is indicated for your specific case.
Clean Out Your Nasal Passages
Another good way to help improve your overall health and naturally treat your allergies is with a saline spray. This can help rinse the pollen out and prevent you from being so dependent on medications like antihistamines or decongestants. You can also use a Neti pot filled with a saline rinse to help achieve the same effect.
Change Your Environment
Oftentimes, there are simple things you can do to your environment that can help with allergies. First, make sure you use HEPA filters in your vacuum cleaner, and vacuum often to remove allergens from your home environment. Replace AC filters often too! In addition, make sure to change your clothes when you come home and take a shower to rinse off any pollen that may have collected in your hair. Make a habit of leaving your shoes outside as well. This will limit tracking in of pollen and pesticides that make their way onto your soles. Finally, you should also change the air filter in your car regularly as this will lower your sinus issues as well.
One final way to help take care of your allergies is with acupuncture. In fact, it has been shown that four weeks of acupuncture treatment can significantly reduce your allergy symptoms.
Allergies don’t have to be the end of your springtime enjoyment. You can still lead an active and happy lifestyle even when the pollen gets out of hand. By dealing with your problems using naturopathic treatments, you can manage to beat allergies this season.