Allergy Fighting Foods

You take precautions against allergen exposure. You take your medications when directed. Is there anything else you can do to help reduce your allergies? The answer may be as simple as including allergy fighting foods in your diet.

Allergy Fighting Foods to Decrease Inflammation

Any time that you can reduce inflammation, you can reduce your allergy symptoms.

That is because every allergy exposure can trigger inflammation. The inflammation can be in mucous membranes or in the skin or joints. Here are some great foods to decrease inflammation:

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive Oilsoybeans are an allergy fighting food
  • Green, leafy veggies such as kale, escarole, and spinach
  • Almonds
  • Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna)
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Soy (edamame, soy milk or tofu – not soy sauce)
  • Peppers (sweet or hot)
Foods to Support Immune Health

As you know by now, your allergies are caused by a problem with your immune system. One way to decrease allergy discomfort is to boost your immune system. This can be done with food or with supplements. You want probiotics and vitamins that support immune health. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Low fat yogurt (look for lactobacillus or bifidobacterium) is a good source of probiotics. Miso
  • Kefir
  • Green tea
  • Citrus
share allergy fighting foods with friendsNutrient Dense Foods to Support Health

When you eat nutrient dense foods, you are eating the World’s Healthiest Foods. Nutrient dense foods pack a powerhouse punch of micronutrients without a caloric knock-out.   Some great nutrient dense foods are:

  • Turnip greens
  • Swiss chard
  • Muchrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Asparagus
Foods to Fight Histamines

table of allergy fighting foodsThe worst allergy symptoms are caused by the release of histamine in your body. Most prescription and over the counter medications are designed to block histamine. That’s why we refer to them as antihistamines. There are some foods with naturally occurring antihistamines. It won’t give you the same dose as your Claritin table, but it can help it work more effectively. Foods with natural antihistamines are:

  • Flax seeds and flax seed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Walnuts
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Ginger
  • Watercress
Combine for Taste and Allergy Fighting

Lucky for you, many of these allergy fighting foods taste great together. When you look at the list you see where the so-called Mediterranean Diet is great for combating allergies. Just skimp on the pasta and go heavy with the garlic. Fish with a spinach and tomato salad with a side of broccoli and a cup of green tea is not only heat healthy, it is allergy fighting as well.

Foods to Avoid if You Have Allergies

If you have seasonal allergies, you should know about oral allergy avoid apples if you are allergic to birch pollensyndrome. This is where the proteins in certain fruits can mimic the proteins in certain pollens. For example, if you are allergic to birch pollen, you want to avoid apples during pollen season. This is one time that an apple a day won’t keep the doctor away.

  • Avoid raw celery and corn if you are allergic to grass pollen.
  • Peel fruits and veggies to avoid food surface proteins. These surface proteins can cause itching of the lips.
  • If you are allergic to ragweed, avoid chamomile teas. Read the labels of “immune support” teas as they often contain chamomile. However, chamomile can cross reactivity if you are allergic to ragweed.

With ragweed season around the corner, you might be interested in reading more about some natural remedies for seasonal allergies.

Til Next Time

 

 

Have You Heard the News About Sick Bed Syndrome?

The Allergy Store has been telling people for years about the health problems associated with dust mites.  Turns out there might be more to worry about in your mattress, pillows, and bed linens than just dust mites.

What is Sick Bed Syndrome?

Dr. Lisa Ackerly, home health hygienist, described Sick Bed Syndrome to the Daily Mail  as a condition where the bed becomes a breeding

sick bed syndrome attacks while you sleep
Dust Mites in Your Bed?

ground not only for dust mites, but disease causing bacteria and viruses.

She explains  because people spend a lot of time in their beds, with many choosing to sleep naked, mattresses can become a breeding ground for micro-organisms, that trigger a range of nasty illnesses.   You can read the entire article about Sick Bed Syndrome here.

Raw Facts on Sleeping in the Nude

bacteria, viruses, mold, dust mites contribute to sick bed syndromeEven though it is common, sleeping in the nude can spread disease.  Dr. Ackerly explains that if you are carrying norovirus with no symptoms and sleeping in the nude, you are contaminating your linens with a virus that will survive regular washing.   That means you can continue to contaminate you and loved ones again and again and again.

Salmonella (food poisoning) can also be shed onto the bed sheets if you sleep in the nude.

As it is, we shed skin cells constantly in our bed, by sleeping in the nude more of those cells make to our sheets, mattresses and pillows than if they were captured by nightclothes.

Combating Sick Bed Syndrome

Hopefully you are not reading about this in bed at 3 am. If you are, we’ve probably ruined any chance you had of getting a good night’s sleep.  Sorry.  But there are some practical things you can do to combat sick bed syndrome.

Lower Humidity.  Lower the humidity and lower the molds and dust mites in your bedroom.

Vacuum Frequently.  Dr. Ackerly recommends frequent “hoovering” (you have to love those British terms) of the bedroom.  To those of us in the US, that means to vacuum often.  She also recommends that you have a hard surface floor in the bedroom.

Disinfect Linens.  Frequent hot water washing is recommended. combat sick bed syndrome with vital oxideSheets, pillow cases, and blankets should be removed from the bed and laundered in 140°F water.  To combat bacteria and viruses, add Vital Oxide disinfecting agent to the wash.  If you are allergic to dust mites, De-Mite Laundry Additive will get rid of the little buggers in cold or warm water.

Do a Separate Load.  Wash bed linens separately to prevent transfer of any contamination from linens to clothing.  she recommends that if you send your linens out to a commercial laundry, that you inquire about the use of disinfecting agents and the temperature of the water they use for washing. Some companies wash with cooler water to reduce risk of damaging fabrics.

Protect your Bed.  Use zippered mattress covers to zip up your get your allergy zippered mattress covers protect against sick bed syndromemattress and keep out dust mites, molds, and pollen.  Zippered pillow covers are also available to protect your pillows.

Expose Duvets.  Dr. Ackerly also recommends that you “air” out your duvets on a regular basis.  By exposing them to sunlight, you reduce moisture (see step 1) making them much healthier for sleeping.  If you don’t have the “alpine” air she mentions, you can still hang outside on a sunny day.

Sick bed syndrome can be avoided and the bonus is that many of the same steps that you take to prevent sick bed syndrome will also help you relieve your allergy symptoms.  Now there is some allergy news to cheer about.

Til Next Time

Cheryl

The Allergy Medication and Alzheimer’s Connection

over the counter allergy medicationSince researchers at the University of Washington first released their findings on side-effects of some common medications, people have had many questions about the relationship between common over the counter allergy  medication and dementia, pneumonia, and other side effects.

Initial Anticholinergic Study

The initial study linked long-term high dose of a common class of antihistamine, antidepressant and bladder control medication to serious, irreversible side effects such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Allergy Medication Connection

Anticholinergic medications work by suppressing the action of acetycholine in the body and brain.  This is a neurotransmitter.  That means it transmits messages to the brain.  Two over-the-counter allergy medications fall into this category:

  • Diphenhydramine (Bendryl)
  • Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)

Diphenhydramine is also a common ingredient in over-the-counter sleep medications (like Tylenol PM, Advil PM, etc.).

Other Medications in This Class

Antihistamines were not the only medications identified.  The antidepressant doxepin and the bladder control medication oxybutynin are also in this class.

What Does This Mean?

questions about allergy medication
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Researchers at the Group Health Research Institute have also studied this connection.  They released a very helpful Question and Answer sheet.  They address the risks of taking these medications and also some assurances.

 Allergy Medication Alternatives

If you are still taking the older generation allergy medications, look at some of the newer offerings.  Loratadine  (Claritin, Alavert) is highly effective for many people with seasonal or indoor allergies.  The inhaled corticosteroids such as Flonase can provide relief when oral medication does not.

Allergy Control without Allergy Medication

allergy-wordsNot only should you talk to your doctor about your medication, you should also talk about other measures you can take to relieve your symptoms without medication.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, using a nasal rinse or neti pot with a saline solution can provide relief.

If you are allergic to dust, make sure you wash sheets regularly and use allergy mattress covers and pillow covers.

 

Til Next Time!

Cheryl