Natural Ways to Fight Seasonal Allergies
Although the nice spring weather is much appreciated, particularly following this harsh winter, many of us suffer with sniffing, sneezing, itchy eyes and post nasal drip. Unfortunately, experts are predicting that each year the spring allergy season will be getting worse due to climate change.
Most of you know what triggers your symptoms and try to avoid them as much as possible. However, we all know that it’s not easy if you want to enjoy the great outdoors.
The good news is that there are foods you can consume that can help tame your symptoms significantly as they contain naturally-occurring plant compounds called phytonutrients.
Below are some examples of excellent sources of whole foods that can ease allergy symptoms and boost your immune system in the process:
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and collard greens are packed with phytochemicals such as carotenoids and quercetin , which ease allergies. To increase the amount of phytonutrients your body absorbs, eat the veggies with a healthy fat source. One idea? Lightly sauté them in olive oil. Apples and onions are also excellent sources of quercetin.
- Citrus Fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges and pineapple contain phytonutrients and are loaded with Vitamin C for increased benefits.
- Purplish/red produce (which contain anti-inflammatory anthocyanins) such as red and purple grapes, beets, berries and cherries.
Out of all the herbal treatments, it seems the most highly recommended by integrative medical experts is Butterbur. “Butterbur is the Singulair of the herbal world,” says David Rakel, MD, founder and director of the University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine Program. Per Dr. Rakel. “I think of all the allergy supplements, it has the best evidence behind it.” The herb appears to work as a leukotriene inhibitor, which blocks some chemicals that trigger swelling in the nasal passages.
Some research shows that extracts of butterbur root are just as effective at relieving nasal symptoms as prescription drugs like Zyrtec and Allegra. And Butterbur does not cause drowsiness, a side-effect of antihistamines, even some so-called “non-sedating antihistamines.” “For someone who is driving a car or flying a plane and really needs to avoid the sedative effects of an allergy medication, butterbur is a good alternative,” Rakel says.
As a precaution, you should not eat raw, unprocessed butterbur root, which is dangerous. Look for brands of supplements that are labeled UPA-free. Keep in mind that experts aren’t sure about the safety of using any butterbur supplements in the long term but they aren’t sure either about the long-term effects of most drugs on the market.