Allergies are caused by histamine which is released from a white blood cell, called a mast cell. These mast cells detect things that are foreign to it, like pollen, certain foods, or even viruses. During allergy season, depending on what the person is allergic to, these mast cells will detect that allergen and will try to get rid of it. It does that by exploding and releasing histamine and other inflammatory chemicals that can then fight off that allergen. The problem is that they are also harming the body depending on where they are exploding. If the histamine is released in the nose and sinuses, you will get a runny or congested nose and a headache. If the histamine is released in the bronchial tubes, you might get a cough or an asthma exacerbation. So the key to feeling better during allergy season is to block the histamines so that they don’t cause these reactions and also to stabilize the mast cells so that they don’t explode in the first place. There are many natural foods and herbs that can do one or the other or both.

 

5 Natural Antihistamines:

  1. Ginger is a histamine blocker or antihistamine but is also great for the immune system. Shave off a small piece of ginger and put it in a mug. Pour hot water over it and steep for 3-5 minutes. Then drink and enjoy.
  2. Thyme is a herb with very high levels of vitamin C along with a variety of of other anti-inflammatory compounds, which work together to help blocks histamine and also prevents the release of histamine from mast cells. Use it liberally in food during cooking or prepare a tea with it.
  3. Watercress is a very potent anti-histamine and can easily be used in salads or sautéed in coconut oil and garlic, which can also decrease the release of histamine from mast cells
  4. Capers have one of the highest levels of Quercetin available in nature. Quercetin is a powerful anti-oxidant that can accomplish both jobs: stabilizes mast cells and acts as an antihistamine. Fresh capers are best but even those preserved in salt are a great option.
  5. Turmeric is a spice that can prevent the release of histamine from mast cells and can even inhibit anaphylactic reactions. It can be used in cooking or can be made into a tea. Roasted, pastured, organic chicken rubbed with turmeric, garlic and thyme served with broccoli and sweet potatoes, is the perfect meal to combat allergies.

 

Make Sure to Avoid:

Pineapple – Many people do not realize that pineapple actually has a high level of histamine, so it should be avoided in patients with histamine issues. It also contains an enzyme bromelain that can be helpful in breaking down inflammation associated with histamine. Bromelain is best taken as a supplement to avoid the histamine from the pineapple.

Strawberries– are known as a histamine liberator because they cause mast cells in the gastrointestinal tract to release histamine. This can exacerbate allergies. Strawberries are usually avoided in patients with histamine issues.

 

Top 5 Holistic Ways to Prevent Allergies

Itchy eyes, scratchy throat, post nasal drip, dry coughs, headaches and skin rashes are the last things we look forward to in spring. But unfortunately, over 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, and sometimes the typical allergy medications just don’t do the trick.

Here are 5 ways to outsmart spring allergies and get rid of your symptoms:

  1. Start early. Most people will begin their allergy-fighting regime when they start experiencing itchy eyes, runny nose, post-nasal drip and a scratchy throat. But at that point a natural approach to treating allergies becomes a large task. The best way to fend off allergies is to begin early. If you know you start experiencing allergies in the beginning of April, then start your allergy protocol March 1st. This allows your body and immune system to calm down before it becomes bombarded with pollen, ragweed and dander.
  2. Nettle leaf and Quercetin. Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica folia) also known as stinging nettles and Quercetin, are two supplements that can make a world of a difference in fending off your allergies. These two are commonly found together in supplements.Together, they work to reduce histamine, which is the cause of the itchy, scratchy, annoying allergy symptoms. Interestingly if you rub nettles on a part of your body, it begins to sting and turns into a rash, something called urticaria (hence the latin name of Urtica). Nature has funny ways of working but it actually does the opposite when you take the Nettle leaf.
  3. Acupuncture. Who would think the insertion of tiny, millimeter thin needles could help clear your allergies? Countless studies have proven and reinforced the efficacy of acupuncture and treating chronic and acute allergies. It is suspected to reduce inflammation, reduce histamine (the thing anti-histamines like Benadryl work on) and clear out sinuses. Acupuncture treats the underlying causes and can promote restful sleep, relaxation and improved energy, which all tend to suffer during allergy season. It’s especially effective for people with asthma and allergies as well.
  4. Probiotics. Probiotics can be a tremendous help in preventing and managing allergies and sinus congestion. Chances are that at least once in your life you were on antibiotics for a sinus infection or some other infection. Most people do not realize that antibiotics kill the bad and the good bacteria. Probiotics are the good bacteria that help us fight off those bad bugs. Recent studies have shown probiotics to be helpful in preventing and treating rhinitis (a fancy medical term for sinusitis). You want to make sure the probiotics have multiple strains and are at 25 to 50 billion CFU or more. Diet is one of the biggest factors in making sure you have a healthy microbiome, which includes eating food that your probiotics can thrive on. Some healthy foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, flax meal, ghee, artichoke flour, berries and coconut oil. There is even some testing that can be done to see if your microbiome (the bacteria in your gut) is healthy, which can be helpful in deciding which probiotic is right for you.
  5. Avoid sugar. Sugar is a main contributor to inflammation. When we eat high amounts of sugar, it signals the body to produce these inflammatory molecules, which then travel throughout the body and cause inflammation. Allergies are a type of inflammation, and can be worsened by sugar. Your body is already dealing with all the other allergens, and sugar makes it even harder for the body to manage those things. Do your body a favor and limit your sugar intake. Sugar is hidden in a lot of foods, so be sure to carefully examine food labels and make sure the sugar content is low (<5g) or contains no sugar at all.

There is not one magic pill, but with these five hacks, you can prepare your body to fight off those itchy, scratchy, congested, irritable allergy symptoms.