Spring Allergies – how mast cells kick our ass (and what you can do about it)
Lets’ face it – we live in a vibrant, verdant and all together kick-ass beautiful place here in Oregon (okay – and you too Washington) but with that we get A LOT of plant life that will occasionally trigger a body immune response which can definitely affect the quality of our workouts, our weight loss, and our fitness.
Let’s quickly break down what is happening inside your body this time of year.
Most spring allergies are related to tree and grass pollens. Our bodies mistakenly detect this pollen as a foreign invader like a virus or bacteria and immediately begins to produce antibodies.
These antibodies bind to other cells in your body called mast cells – and we all have a ton of these bad-boys under the skin right around our eyes, nose, throat, lungs & digestive track. Lucky us.
Once these mast cells find the “allergen” it produces powerful chemicals called histamines. This is what causes the symptoms (good times!……..not).
Runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, itchy nose & eyes, worsened asthma symptoms, decreased quality of sleep, body aches!
It’s sometimes hard to determine what exactly you are allergic to because the symptoms can take up to a few hours to show. So, do you just turn solely to medications for relief? We hope not!
6 Foods That May Help Curb Your Allergies
We are also big fans of treating these symptoms with diet and exercise – staying healthy and losing weight is going to have a cascading effect, so time to give your immune system some extra help!
No food is a proven cure. But fruits and vegetables are good for your whole body. They’re full of nutrients that can keep you healthy. They may also protect you from seasonal allergies. Avoiding foods that can cause inflammation in the body may be the key.
Try these items:
- Onions, peppers, berries, and parsley all have quercetin. Elson Haas, MD, who practices integrative medicine, says quercetin is a natural plant chemical. According to Haas, this chemical may reduce “histamine reactions.” Histamines are part of the allergic response.
- Kiwi is a fuzzy fruit rich in vitamin C. It can also cut down on histamines. You can get Vitamin C from lots of foods, including oranges and other citrus fruit.
- Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain. According to Lawrence Rosen, MD, bromelain can reduce irritation in allergic diseases such as asthma.
- Tuna, salmon, and mackerel have Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 can help reduce inflammation. Go for two servings of fish every week. A study from Japan found that women who ate more fish had lower levels of hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis.
- Kefir is a yogurt drink that contains probiotics. These are good-for-you bacteria that live in your gut. Rosen says they may help prevent and even treat seasonal allergies. You can get probiotics in fermented foods. Look for yogurts that say “live active cultures” on the label. Sauerkraut and kimchi are also good sources.
- Local Honey. The research is mixed on whether local honey helps you head off allergies. “If you take small doses of the honey early in the season,” Rosen says, “you may develop a tolerance toward pollen in your area.” One study found that people who ate birch pollen honey had fewer symptoms of birch pollen allergy than those who ate regular honey. It’s not a sure thing but see if it works for you. This article is from Webmd.com
Other weirdly simple techniques that will could help:
- Heap Filters in your home
- Wash your bedding and clothes often
- Find out what the Pollen count is if you are going to be outside
- Shower and change clothes after being outside on a day with a high pollen count or at least splash your face with cool water to rinse off that sticky pollen