We spoke with health psychologist Dr. Lauren Ampolos to find out how to nip seasonal allergies in the bud without relying on medicine. If your allergies are damaging your quality of life, she suggested the following natural remedies for treatment and prevention.
According to Ampolos, chamomile is a natural antihistamine, so drink to your heart's content! The tea will help clear out your sinus pressure and allergy mucus.
Probiotic supplements boast a range of benefits, including improved immune system functioning and reduced gastrointestinal problems. Probiotics can also reduce or prevent allergy symptoms. "Look for a multi-strain brand of probiotic," said Ampolos, "and take it separately from food."
We hear a lot about the importance of omega-3 and omega-6 in our diets, but Ampolos warns that people actually need to be savvy about their dietary quantities of each. "Omega-3 fats reduce inflammation and the histamine response, but omega-6 fats can actually produce an inflammatory response," which can trigger allergy symptoms. She suggested increasing omega-3 fats in your diet by eating more fish or fish oil supplements, and reducing omega-6 fats by staying away from corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oils.
"Querectin is a flavonoid found in plants," said Ampolos, "and daily use in supplement form decreases allergic responses." Ampolos suggests taking it in the morning separately from food.
Admittedly, removing cow dairy and gluten from your diet is a really tough step to take. "Most patients are really resistant to this change," said Ampolos, "but once they try a rule-out challenge where one of the food types is avoided for a month and then reintroduced, a major difference in their symptoms is apparent." She added that cow dairy and gluten can cause allergies because they trigger inflammation and mucus production. If your symptoms are bad enough, try changing your diet for a month and see what happens.
If your symptoms are already taking a toll, get some relief with essential oils. Ampolos suggests boiling a pot of water and adding either peppermint or eucalyptus oil to the water and breathing in the vapor to clear your symptoms.
They take some getting used to, but neti pots do an incredible job of clearing congested sinuses. Ampolos' only caution is to always use filtered water in the neti pot so you can avoid harmful pathogens.
Finally, Ampolos suggested that you do your best to avoid pollen and other allergens by staying indoors and utilizing a good air filter. A high-quality filter will reduce your exposure to allergens so your home can be a haven of relief rather than a cesspool of airborne irritants.
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