What are Seasonal Allergies?
Beyond miserable you mean? Really, they are more of a nuisance than anything. But, allergies can point to bigger health issues that should be addressed.
The long and short of it is this: allergies are your immune system freaking out about something they should definitely be chill with.
So, let’s break it down. your immune system which, as we know, roughly 80% or so lies in your gut, sends the signal to the rest of your body that there is a foreign intruder and BAM! You are hit with an itchy nose, watery eyes, sinus congestion, and headaches. With many of these things potentially leading to ear infections, sinus infections, and an overwhelming fear of the outdoors.
I know that this is an insanely common and frustrating ailment that plagues pretty much everyone and their mom.
I mean, even when my husband and I moved to Oklahoma, we were told that if we didn’t have seasonal allergies before, that we for sure would during the Spring in Oklahoma. Well, we waited… and waited… and waited for our seasonal allergies to hit. But, alas. Nothing. Not last year, not this year. So, what exactly do we do differently and how do we avoid the curse of seasonal allergies altogether?
Let’s start off by busting some pretty gnarly myths about allergies.
Three Common Misconceptions about Seasonal Allergies
I know that right about now you are thinking to yourself, “this girl has finally fallen off her rocker! There is no way to just go from having allergies to not having allergies.” Well, I would have felt the same, dear reader had I not had the privilege to witness total transformations in my clients with my very own eyes!
So, here is the top misconceptions that we hope to bust with this article.
- You have to learn to live with your allergies
- Antihistamines, nasal sprays, and steroids are the only answer
- If you want to cure allergies, you have to do years of allergy shots that cost anywhere from $800-3,900 a year (depending on your health insurance).
Let’s dig into the science so we can show you a how you can avoid allergies altogether this season.
Where do Allergies Start?
Allergies typically begin in childhood, allergic disease, similar to autoimmunity, is your immune system over responding to inappropriate targets. This spike in allergies, asthma, and autoimmune disease being seen in well-developed countries are all due, to poor gut health. But, why does it tend to start in childhood?
Just as with everything else related to the body, there are a lot of factors involved, but the US’s obsession with C-Sections, antibiotics, and excessive cleanliness play a large part in the epidemic.
C-sections and antibiotics are meant to be last-ditch, lifesaving options. So, yes, there are times that they are 100% necessary. But, there are times (most), that they are not.
This leads us to the Hygiene Hypothesis. I will give you the overall gist of it: We are too clean.
We have sanitized, lysoled, killed off or removed all microbes from our lives. We wear shoes when we go outside, we scrub our floors constantly, we use hand sanitizer, we bathe every single day, and HAVE MERCY, babies cannot put things in their mouths for fear they will catch….something.
Even birth has become sterile, often moved to an operating room when it is meant to be the exact moment new infants get the vast majority of their brand new microbiome. (New to the world of the microbiome? Continue appeasing your curiosity here.)
Essentially, as a westernized culture, we have effectively starved off our microbiomes, wreaking havoc on our overall health. Our lack of early exposure to parasites and microbes has actually hurt us more than it has helped us.
Now, this is obviously not to romanticize unsanitary living by any means. I like my toilet and I love clean drinking water. It is just to make the statement that our bodies were created to handle a little dirt now and then.
Not being exposed to a well-balanced variety of microbes leaves the immune system lopsided, typically with more bad bacteria than good, causing a state of dysbiosis, weakening the immune system drastically.
So, all of that to say, the gut is the center of the immune system, and the reason we either have allergies or we don’t.
How Does Gut Health Affect the Immune System and Seasonal Allergies?
As I briefly covered, essentially, when you react to substances that do not cause reactions for most people, your body has produced antibodies that alert the immune system that certain allergens are harmful, even when they aren’t.
So, it follows that if it is your immune system’s responsibility to flag allergens as harmful or not harmful, then if something within the immune system is not working properly (ie. Looking at the gut here!), then that would contribute to allergies. (If you are curious about what a Dr. thinks about gut health and allergies, check out this article.)
The microbiome of the gut and the rest of the body (lungs, ears, nose, etc.) play a large role in the development of immune tolerance. In the linked study, they also discuss the difference between the lungs of healthy vs. Asthmatic subjects and the drastic difference between their microbes.
So, basically, it goes like this: The gut controls the immune system, the immune system controls allergic responses, if your gut is out of whack, your immune system is out of whack, and dun dun dun, you are now more likely to have allergies.
How to Get Rid of Your Allergies – For Good!
I can assume that if you have made it this far, you have gathered that your gut is where seasonal allergies not only begin but, it’s also where they end.
So, how do you get rid of seasonal allergies for good? It truly is as easy as healing your gut.
But, because I know that healing the gut is not necessarily an easy feat, here is where I recommend you start:
Switch your drinks
Drinking soda, juice, sugary teas, or even worse, diet drinks filled with chemical sweeteners (Splenda, sweet n low, aspartame…etc) can cause a lot of damage to the gut. But, I know that staying hydrated is important and water can be boring.
Here is what I like to do to spruce up my water. Make a huge pitcher of fun flavored fruit water by adding:
- oranges, or
But, for your guts, drinking half your body weight in ounces per day will begin to help with the healing process.
I also know that kombucha is very popular right now, but be careful, there are many brands popping up that may or may not have your health in mind and are loaded with sugar. I prefer GTS or locally made brews that use fruit to sweeten their kombucha instead of sugar!
I personally drink water, kombucha, tea, and coffee throughout the day, but I also drink a plant-based prebiotic drink that helps with gut healing, blood sugar balance, and tastes like a watermelon jolly rancher, so if that doesn’t spice up the water game, I don’t know what will!
Let me know and I can help you get your hands on some.
Eat more plants
I know this sounds so simple, but really, it is so important for healing the gut. Eat more healthy plant-based fats, proteins, and carbs. Switch from sandwiches to salads, make a side of veggies for every meal, add veggies to your smoothies and protein shakes, do not go a day without feeding your gut garden.
It would also be advantageous to remove a few things from your diet if you truly want to heal the gut. Such as:
- nutritionless carbs,
- process foods, and
- fast food
Take the right probiotics
You had to have known this was coming. Probiotics can be life changers, many are not. Many never even make it to the gut and are not as helpful as one would hope, and most do not contain the enzymes necessary to actually kill off yeast, fungus, and bad bacteria in the gut.
If nothing else, adding the right probiotics to your life can help you alleviate your seasonal allergies for good.
If you are wondering what the right probiotics are, head over to this blog post, or feel free to contact us and we can help point you towards some powerhouse probiotics.
Creating lasting change can seem daunting at first. Learning about gut health and how to heal the gut lining is not always as simple as eating more veggies. So, as always, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
If you want to schedule a one on one consultation, we would be honored to help you reach your health goals. Just follow this link. We cannot wait to meet you!
I cannot wait to hear more about how you are loving your guts this Spring!
As always, wishing you the best health and the most happiness