Sniffling noses, itchy eyes, watering eyes. It's allergy season. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergies affect more than 50 million Americans. Seasonal allergies like hay fever are caused by pollen in trees, grasses, weeds and mold spores. People with a high sensitivity to these pollens are afflicted by symptoms that can be irritating and possibly debilitating.
While there are a number of both prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines available to treat allergies, WebMD warns that they can cause such side-effects as drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision and confusion. To combat allergies without the dreadful side-effects of antihistamines, try the following natural home remedies.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar. Wellness Mama swears by the cure-all of apple cider vinegar. She explains, it works because it reduces mucous production and cleanses the lymphatic system. To try this remedy at home, drink a full glass of water with a teaspoon of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Drink the concoction three times daily as soon as you feel the first signs of allergies.
2. Eat spicy foods. Hot chili peppers, horseradish, hot mustards, cayenne pepper and hot ginger are great condiments to help clear out a stuffy nose. Prescription and over-the-counter decongestants in the form of pills and nasal sprays can be dangerous for patients with irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure, heart disease and glaucoma, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. A natural and tastier solution to opening the blood vessels in the membranes of the nose and air passages is to simply eat spicy foods when you feel congested.
3. Locally produced honey. When bees pollinate plants, they pick up pollen spores. These pollen spores are found in the honey then produced by the bees. When you consume pollen spores in the form of honey, you are in fact taking an allergy vaccine against local pollens which can increase your immune system's resistance. Mercola recommends regularly consuming locally produced honey to develop a natural immunity to local allergens.
4. Eat more fish. Omega-3 fatty acids have proven to be effective at decreasing allergy symptoms, according to The Weather Channel. A Swedish study published in the journal Allergy found that infants who consume fish are at lower risk for developing allergic diseases and are less sensitive to the type of seasonal allergies that come from pollen. Take protective action and eat more omega-3 rich foods like salmon, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts and flaxseeds. If you have children, heed the advice of the Swedish study and feed them a fish-forward diet from a young age.
5. Exercise. An article in Fitness Magazine explains exercise naturally soothes allergy symptoms by increasing blood flow to the blood vessels in your nose, where allergy sufferers are likely to be afflicted. Michael Benninger MD, institute chair of the department of otolaryngology at the Cleveland Clinic says that just after five minutes of exercise, you will begin to feel relief that will last hours.
6. Kombucha and Kefir. According to a study by the Department of Immunology at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, UK, allergies are caused by an imbalanced immune system unable to adequately respond to its environment. This is why healthy gut bacteria known as probiotics are effective at preventing allergies and managing symptoms. Wellness Mama recommends introducing probiotics like Kombucha and Kefir to your diet, as well as fermented foods like sauerkraut and aged cheese, in order to naturally prevent and manage allergies.
7. Drink Green Tea. You may be surprised to learn green tea is a natural antihistamine. In an article on MedMD, allergist Tim Mainardi MD recommends drinking two cups a day two weeks before the start of allergy season in order to prevent allergies before they start.
8. Eat more strawberries. Strawberries, like oranges and red peppers, are rich in Vitamin C. According to The Weather Channel, Vitamin C can help control allergy symptoms. Broccoli is also rich in Vitamin C and has the added benefit of being chockfull of quercetin, a flavonoid known to reduce the inflammation associated with allergies. Apples, onions, berries, cabbage and cauliflower also contain quercetin.
While allergies are the less beautiful part of spring, they do not have to be miserable. Combine these home remedies and after a 30-minute run, treat yourself to a delicious homemade dinner of cayenne honey-glazed salmon topped with a dollop of yogurt and served with a side salad full of broccoli, strawberries and red pepper. Pair your dinner with a steaming cup of green tea and a glass of apple cider vinegar water. You'll be feeling better in no time.
How do YOU combat allergies? SHARE this article and tell us which home remedies work for you!