Tips and Tricks

Coming into the spring season, many people will begin to struggle with springtime allergies. If you’re one of these people, it may seem like there is really not much that can be done to treat or prevent these symptoms. This week, we are going to be talking about some tips and tricks that can be used to minimize, manage and deal with allergy symptoms.

 As you may know, allergies are an immune system response, where a specific substance, whether it be tree pollen, ragweed, pollen from flowers or even the grass causes our bodies to break out in an immune response toward these specific allergens. Ideally, our bodies should be able to tolerate these substances. However, the immune response that is triggered in response to these substances is what is commonly referred to as an allergy – where symptoms of nasal congestion, a runny nose, and mucus are indicative of an inflammatory response of the immune system.

Today, we’re going to offer some helpful tools that can be utilized to enable our bodies to better deal with and prepare for these springtime allergies. One tool that you can utilize (if you’re not already) is local honey. As we know, bees produce honey as a byproduct of pollination of the plants near their hive. Local honey therefore contains components of the pollen in the area. Therefore, by consuming local honey, we can introduce our bodies to the allergens we are likely to experience throughout the spring in a small quantity, that can consequently enable our bodies to manage and deal with this allergen when later exposed to it in a high quantity. If you’re in Holland or the West Michigan area, the Farmer’s Market that will be starting here soon is a great resource to utilize in order to acquire local honey where several vendors are present throughout the spring and summer seasons selling local honey. Other local food stores for those of us in the area include Apple Valley on the north side, and Nature’s market on the south side of town.

 Another great option that we can utilize to manage our allergy symptoms is to eat spicy foods. This triggers the body to produce more mucus systemically, which then equips the body to be better able to drain mucus in response to an allergen. In other words, spicy foods can enable our bodies to be able to dilute the mucus produced through an allergic response, therefore reducing symptoms of congestion and sinus pressure.

Additionally, gut healthy foods can also prepare our immune systems to be able to combat allergic responses. Over two thirds of our immune system is derived from our gut. So, probiotic foods such as yogurt, kimchee and raw dairy can promote the health of our gut flora, enhancing our overall immune system health.

  Bromelain is also a natural substance that can be helpful in reducing the symptoms of allergies including congestion and mucus buildup. Bromelain can be found in pineapple, most specifically within the core of the fruit. A great way to ensure consumption of bromelain is to make sure that your pineapple is ripe – to the point where you can access the fruit as close to the core of the pineapple as possible.

   Overall, we hope that you find a few of these tips and tricks for how to manage your allergies in this spring season helpful! If there are any other tools that you utilize in the spring to manage your allergies, please let us know! We would love to pass on whatever helpful insight you may have to the community we serve!