It’s that time of year when the seasons are changing and spring is in the air...literally! There are things like pollen, grass, trees, and weeds that all contribute to seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies are a common struggle for many. I, too, can relate because I also used to experience the frustrating effects of pollen! But now, I no longer have seasonal allergies AT ALL! You may be wondering, “how is this possible?”
I’ll start by saying that the elimination of my allergy symptoms did not come from taking a pill or any sort of medication. In fact, when I had bad allergies, I used to take Zyrtec D daily, yet I would still experience allergy symptoms! It was when I stopped taking the pills and started making lifestyle changes, like my diet, that I noticed the change. As a holistic nutritionist, I believe in taking a holistic approach to health and getting to the root of the problem versus just focusing on symptoms. I believe that allergies are simply a symptom of the body being out of balance.
Our immune system plays a key role in fighting off these allergy symptoms. About 70% of our immune system is housed in the gut, so if our gut is out of balance, so is our immune system, thus causing these symptoms from seasonal allergies. A lack of diversity in the gut microbiome is also associated with allergies. Incorporating pre and probiotic foods in your diet, along with taking probiotics, can help with this.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, I recommend eating a plant-focused diet. Plant foods will provide loads of nutrients to your body and will help tremendously with allergies. By eating more plants, you are helping support your immune function by creating a healthy environment that helps regulate your inflammatory response. This will help naturally fight off allergy symptoms. Below are some foods and supplements I suggest incorporating into your diet regularly to help boost your immune system. These will help reduce and can even eliminate those nasty seasonal allergy symptoms!
● Omega 3 rich foods: wild salmon, chia seeds, flax, hemp seeds, walnuts
● Antioxidant-rich foods: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries (try to pick organic berries as conventional berries tend to contain an unhealthy dose of pesticides)
● Vitamin D: Getting outside in the sun is great, but since most of us typically don’t get enough Vitamin D, incorporating a D3 supplement is also beneficial.
● Nutritional yeast: It’s been shown to boost the immune system and contains numerous nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, protein, zinc and more. It typically comes in flakes, granules, or powder-like form and can be added to anything. Pasta is my favorite food to add it to, but I also add it to eggs, salads, etc., really anything I want a cheesy flavor on. You can find this at most health food stores or online/Amazon.
● Local Honey/Bee Pollen: Eating local honey or bee pollen can help prevent allergies, this is because you are ingesting the local pollen so it helps your body acclimate to the environment, and over time you become less sensitive to the pollen.
● Spirulina: It is a blue-green algae that naturally detoxifies the body, supports immune function, and acts as a histamine blocker. You can add spirulina to your smoothies and can buy it at most health food stores or online/Amazon.
● Probiotics: These help to balance the gut microbiome with good bacteria. Daily stressors, both environmental and internal, as well as the use and abuse of antibiotics, disrupt the balance of bacteria in the digestive system. Check out SunBiotics probiotic supplements and probiotic almonds here. I suggest the cheesy almonds because they contain nutritional yeast too!
Remember spring IS in the air, so don’t let those pesky allergies get in your way! Take charge of your health and get on with celebrating this season of warmer weather and new growth!
About the Author
Jenna Johnson is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and founder and creator of The Scrounge, a lifestyle brand that began with her love of food and ‘making more with less’ in her home kitchen. Through working with clients 1-on-1, social media content, virtual cooking classes, workshops, and events, Jenna is shifting people’s mindset of healthy cooking to an approachable style called “Scrounging” – using the food you already have at home to create a meal. Jenna is passionate about taking the complication out of cooking and eating healthy. She believes food is medicine and that nutrition and home cooking shouldn’t be stressful, but rather a fun and positive experience. Jenna’s “scrounging” style of cooking has expanded from kitchens of friends, family, and colleagues to hundreds of people around the world. She encourages everyone to get creative with what they have at home and not to be afraid of not having all of the ingredients listed in a recipe. Jenna’s passion for healthy cooking and helping others led her to pursue a career in nutrition. Now, as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist specializing in gut health, she focuses on helping women eliminate chronic stomach issues without medication. Jenna’s own experience with gut issues led her to help others with these same struggles. Jenna’s goal is to help others get their life back and live life to the fullest without the stress and anxiety of stomach pain.