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Allergies getting you down? by Dr. Clare Craig

Jun 10, 2011

It’s common knowledge that many inhalants like pollens, mold, pets, and dust, can cause allergic symptoms in susceptible people.  However, studies have also shown that food allergies or sensitivities are a frequent and important triggering factor, especially with chronic allergies, but also in seasonal flare-ups.  Common triggers are wheat, dairy, soy, citrus, and eggs.  Some with hay fever can become symptom-free with food avoidance alone.  An elimination diet can be an effective way to determine food sensitivities.

So what can you do when you feel trapped inside in the spring, just as the sun is starting to shine?  There are plenty of natural ways to help strengthen your immune system and reduce or eliminate the effects of environmental allergens.  Here are a few basics.



Water    This precious liquid thins the mucous that is produced in an allergic response, and promotes flushing of toxins.  You can also use saline in a neti pot to rinse the nasal passages and diminish aggravation from allergies.


Essential Fatty Acids   The EFAs found in foods like cold-water fish, flax, borage and evening primrose oils help to regulate the inflammatory response, as well as having benefits for the heart, brain, joints, and skin.


• Foods high in Quercetin, a natural antioxidant and anti-histamine, and Vitamin C, can reduce reactivity and symptoms, as well as boost the immune system.  Some good food sources are: dark berries and grapes, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, apples, and green beans.



Dairy   Milk and milk products tend to thicken mucous and phlegm, which aggravate allergic congestion.


Sugar   The sweet stuff suppresses the activity of white blood cells, a critical part of our immune system, so sweets, especially refined sugars, should be avoided during all times of illness.


Trans fats Observational European studies show a positive correlation between intake of margarine and increased seasonal allergy symptoms, so stick to healthier fats like olive, grapeseed, and flax oils.


Remember that healthy lifestyle habits can significantly reduce allergies.  A Japanese study showed that simple things like improving diet, reducing alcohol and cigarette smoking, and managing stress, reduced levels of allergic antibodies.

Dr. Clare Craig

Island Optimal Health & Performance
#103-1808 Bowen Road
Nanaimo, BC   V9S 5W4



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