Do you suffer from allergies? Does your asthma get worse with the seasons? It can be frustrating to have sinus infections, itchy eyes, post nasal drip, congestions, scratch throat, or asthma as soon as of the beautiful plants are in full bloom. It’s difficult to fully enjoy the beauty of nature when it can cause us such suffering.
If you get allergies in the Spring time, you’re often reacting to tree pollens in the air, while summer time allergies are most likely due to grass pollens. If your allergies don’t start until Autumn, those are often attributed to weed pollens. Most people don’t have allergies in the Winter, but if you do, then you’re most likely reacting to indoor triggers such as molds, dust mites, or animal dander. No matter what provokes your allergies or asthma, Naturopathy offers many different tools for relief.
Here are 7 ways to reduce your asthma and allergies:
- Eat Local Honey (or local Pollen or Propolis)For many people, asthma and allergies are related to pollens. The best way to reduce the reaction of the airways (lungs and sinuses) to pollen is to introduce pollen to the body in another way, such as through the digestive tract. When you introduce the allergen into the body in a different organ system, the immune system can recognize that it is not a threat, and eventually, it will stop reacting to it with allergic symptoms. Start with a very small amount of local honey (or pollen) such as ¼ teaspoon, and slowly increase it every day. Make sure it’s local, though, because it is local pollen to which people react.
- Eliminate DairyDairy products produce phlegm and mucus, causing additional congestion. Replace dairy products with other sources of calcium such as local organic dark leafy greens, almonds, sesame, and sustainably caught wild salmon. For milk replacements, consider nut milks or coconut milk.
- Increase Omega 3 Fatty AcidsThese types of essential fatty acids help decrease inflammation for every cell of the body, including the cells of the respiratory track. Omega 3s create a protective coating to the mucus membranes, which is very soothing and helps reduce reactivity.
- Minimize Exposure to Respiratory IrritantsAvoid the usual suspects such as smoke, dust, molds, volatile chemicals, and environmental polluntants as much as possible. Take precautions such as closing the windows, wearing a mask or bandana, getting a carbon monoxide alarm, or using a HEPA air filter.
- Breathing ExercisesThere are many different forms of breathing exercises or pranayama that can help to exercise the airways. These exercises can create increased lung capacity, calmness, and can actually decrease the inflammatory response.
- Reduce InflammationBromelain, Vitamin C, Quercitin, Nettles and Turmeric are all very powerful anti-allergy, anti-asthma, anti-inflammatories. Look for formulas that contain each of these ingredients. One other common trigger for asthma is sulfites. Avoiding sulfites, found as a preservative in many wines and vinegars can help reduce asthma attacks.
- Find Out What Your Food Sensitivities AreTry an Elimination Diet, by eliminating all of the major food sensitivities such as: wheat, dairy, corn, soy, and sugar for 1 month. Then introduce each food one-by-one for 3-5 days to see if you get a reaction. If there is no reaction, introduce the next food. If there is a reaction, eliminate that food again for several days before introducing the next food.
Naturopathic doctors can also run a Food Sensitivity Panel to see which foods your immune system reacts to, this test can help identify which foods to avoid in order to reduce the inflammatory and immune reactions your body is creating to your food. Eliminating these foods, specific to you, can help treat and prevent your asthma and allergies long term.