Taste Success Wellbeing: Allergies

 

Do You Suffer From Allergies?

Spring signals the beginning of the hayfever and allergy season as the pollen starts to fly about. Whether your trigger is pine pollen, birch, grasses, wattle, dust, animal dander or an unknown trigger, the symptoms can have a dramatic effect on quality of life. 

We like you to know what's going on behind the symptoms, so in this blog post we're going to explain allergies, how and why they happen, and what you can do about it.  

 

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What causes hay fever?

Our immune system is a structured network of different cell types, tissues and organs in our body. It functions to protect against foreign ‘invaders’ these are usually bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. The immune system normally does a great job keeping us healthy, but it can make mistakes - one example of this is Allergies.

When our body detects something it perceives as foreign, it may send out a signal to a specialised type of white blood cell called a "Mast" cell. It is from here that the chemical Histamine is produced. Histamine is a chemical messenger in our body. In an allergic response, it results in inflammation and an increase in mucous production by binding to special sites called receptors on cells in your nose and throat, causing them to swell and leak fluid. 


What are some typical symptoms of an allergy-based condition? 

  • Sneezing 
  • Running eyes and nose 
  • Itchy throat or roof of the mouth 
  • Congestion behind the forehead and cheeks with pain 
  • Foggy thinking (difficulty with memory and concentration)
  • Low energy
  • There may also be chest tightness and breathing difficulties, if asthma is involved

 

What can you do about it?

The key thing here is to reduce the inflammation (see last month's blog for our 3 Steps to Reducing Inflammation) and histamine.

Histamine plays many roles; besides mediating local immune reactions, it is also a neurotransmitter, affecting mood and cognition. For example, an over-abundance of this chemical is linked to hyperactivity, depression, OCD and many other neurological conditions.  It is most commonly known as a chemical released when we have hayfever (hence anti-histamines to manage symptoms).

There are many natural options to help manage excess histamine production in response to allergy triggers such as pollens. Here are some suggestions from our in-house Naturopath:

  • Gut Health: If our gut health is poor, and we have an imbalance of bacteria, then our immune system can become overactive (such as in allergies and auto-immunity). Feeding your microbiota - your gut bacteria - is the work we support you in for prevention. The right kind of fibre, pre and probiotics, foods containing zinc and vitamin C are all part of our support plan. 
  • Peppermint: Has been shown in clinical trials to inhibit histamine release, which makes it a key part of a prevention programme.  
  • Nettle Leaf: Yes, the common old stinging nettle, regarded as a nuisance weed has powerful benefits to us at spring time. Nettles are a potent herb with a long history of use. High in minerals and vitamins, nettles also contain natural anti-histamine qualities that provide great benefit to allergy sufferers. It can be taken as a simple tea, or put fresh into juices or soups, or steamed with other green leafy vegetables.
  • Dairy Products: Removing all dairy products while you have congestion is a great start as this often has the effect of reducing mucous production.
  • Nutrition: Incorporating foods high in zinc, Vitamin A, and vitamin C, plus garlic and pineapple are also helpful for managing symptoms.
  • Quercetin: Plays an important role in managing histamine release as a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory, which has been shown to release constricted bronchial and nasal passages, helping to relieve hayfever, allergies and sinus congestion. Quercetin is found in many fruits, with apples, citrus fruits, onions, parsley and pineapple being some of the richest sources, with berries, buckwheat, leafy green vegetables and olive oil also containing some. 
  • Supplementation: Our in-house Naturopath has a range of herbal supplements that can reduce our immune system response to flowers, pollen, and dust mites. 

 

With a wide variety of fresh vegetables, herbs, spices and nutrients, our 12-week programme is an excellent place to begin in reducing your inflammation and histamine load. If you’d like to address an allergy-based condition in your life and improve your overall health, book in now for your one-to- one session with one of our friendly facilitators.

Tracey Loughran