13 Feb, Jyoti Tewari ,Canada : An allergy is an overaggressive immune response triggered by ingesting certain foods, touching certain substances, or inhaling an irritant such as pollen or animal dander. Allergies to pollen, spores, mold, and dust (also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis) affect the respiratory system and are usually the most difficult to control.
Symptoms of hay fever are sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes and nose, and headache. Hay fever is often seasonal (when pollen is in the air), but if constantly exposed to an offending substance (e.g., pet dander), symptoms can last year-round.
From a naturopathic viewpoint, allergies are often associated with weak adrenal, immune, and digestive functions. Natural treatments are used to support and improve those functions and to alleviate hay fever symptoms. For seasonal allergies, beginning natural treatments (e.g., Stinging nettles) 1–2 months before the season starts can help reduce the severity of symptoms. Good health can help ease allergy symptoms, and good health starts with nutrition. People sensitive to airborne allergens may also be sensitive to certain foods. Identifying and removing those foods from the diet can greatly improve health and reduce allergy symptoms. This is best accomplished by the elimination and challenge diet.
To reduce allergy symptoms, eat a moderately low-fat, high-complex-carbohydrate diet. Drink 1/2 of body weight in ounces of water daily (e.g., a 150 lb person would drink 75 oz of water).
Include a lot of the following foods in the diet:
* Dark green, leafy vegetables
* Deep yellow and orange vegetables
* Nettles, bamboo shoots, cabbage, beet tops, beets, carrots, yams
* Onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne, horseradish
Eliminate the following from the diet:
* Alcohol, caffeine, and dairy products
* Bananas and citrus fruit
* Food colorings (tartrazine)
* Red meat
* Bioflavonoids (e.g., quercetin, catechin, and hesperidin) – Take 2-3 grams daily. When symptoms are severe, take up to 6 grams. Bioflavonoids are natural antihistamines and strongly anti-allergenic. Bromelain and vitamin C can enhance the action of bioflavonoids. Combination products are available.
* Flaxseed oil – Take 1 tbsp daily.
* Probiotics (e.g., lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus) – Take one in the morning and one in the evening. Probiotics are bowel microflora organisms—microscopic bacteria that normally inhabit the intestines. Buy a quality product that has 3 million organisms per capsule.
* Vitamin A – Take 25,000 IUs daily.
* Vitamin C – Take 1-3 grams 2 to 3 times daily or to bowel tolerance. (Bowel tolerance is the amount of vitamin C that can be taken without causing diarrhea. This amount is different for each person and can change if the need increases because the body is stressed, injured, or ill.)
* Vitamin E – Take 400 IUs daily.
* Zinc – Take 30 mg daily.