Spring is typically considered the season for allergies. However, fall, due to the high amount of vegetation and increase in humidity from rain, brings with it its own set of allergens, such as pollen, ragweed, dust mites, and outdoor mold spores. If you find yourself constantly sneezing, coughing and having a stuffy nose this time of year, try some natural remedies instead of heading to the pharmacy to pick up antihistamines.
Here are 5 of the most useful natural ways to fight allergies:
1. Minimizing exposure
Ever sleep with the window open and wake up with a sore throat? It might sound obvious, but avoiding exposure to triggers is the best way to avoid allergic reactions. Keep your windows closed to stop pollen and mold spores from coming inside.
Wash your clothes, shower and wash your hair if you've spent a lot of time outdoors where you could have picked up pollen. Finally, air purifiers and vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters will remove any allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust that have made it into your house.
*Tip: If you do buy the top-rated HEPA filters, they'll stop most of the allergens but might slow down your A/C flow in the Summer!
2. Anti-inflammatory diet
Allergies are inflammatory reactions to which certain people are more predisposed to than others. Eating a diet rich in foods that are anti-inflammatory can counteract this tendency. Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, and flax, have been shown to reduce the frequency of asthma attacks in people with allergies. Other anti-inflammatory foods include green tea, curcumin, dark chocolate, and most fruit and vegetables.
Allergies can be a strong sign that your immune system is out of balance. A good way to fix that is to eat fermented foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha.
Probiotics have been shown to have a number of health benefits including the ability to reduce the impact of seasonal allergies. Rich in friendly bacteria, these foods will help diversify your gut flora, which in turn will help balance your immune system and reduce the risk of allergic reactions.
It might not sound fun to exercise if you have allergies, but moderate to intense exercise for 30 minutes 3-5 times a week has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory effects, reducing the risk of allergies and asthma attacks. Plus, regular exercise provides a host of other physical and mental health benefits including Vitamin D exposure.
If exercising outdoors increases exposure to allergens such as pollen and mold spores, it might be better to work out at home or in a gym until symptoms are reduced. *There's a surprising amount of pollen in areas you might not expect it, like in the city or even at the beach!
5. Local Honey
Immunotherapy is the process of exposing someone to a small amount of allergen, with the purpose of reducing their sensitivity to it and preventing future allergic reactions.
Eating large amounts of local raw honey, which contains diverse types of pollen, has been shown to help desensitize people with hay fever. It is crucial that the honey you eat was produced in the area where you live, and that it is raw. Pasteurized supermarket honey will not work, and forget that cheap stuff that's been boiled or imported from China!
Fighting Allergies Without Pills
If you like to spend a lot of time outdoors in the fall biking, walking, or apple-picking, allergies to pollen and mold spores can ruin your fun. Minimizing exposure to these allergens when indoors can help. Also, simple life changes such as exercising more, eating a diet that is high in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, and consuming probiotics, can reduce your chances of having allergic reactions.