“Ah-Choo” What to do? Seasonal Allergies (On the go version)

What is an allergy?

An allergy is your body’s immune response to an antigen or foreign substance that does not cause disease such as pollen, weeds, pet dander, fur etc. When your immune system detects the foreign substance, which in this case may be pollen, grass etc., it releases chemicals called histamines, which trigger the production of extra mucus, tears and coughing to help trap and expel the foreign substance from your body. This is why you may get a runny nose, teary eyes or start coughing when you suffer from allergies. This immune response is usually only reserved for pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi etc. However, since the immune system of allergy sufferers, cannot distinguish between disease-causing antigens (pathogens) and non-disease causing antigens, it produces the same response for all antigens. In a sense, it is your body “overreacting” to something you are exposed to in the environment.

How can I treat my seasonal allergy?

Being an allergy sufferer myself I know the discomfort and misery allergies can cause. In years past, I would try virtually all products on the market, to try to get some relief, since this time of year was particularly debilitating to me. Some products would work for a couple of days, but after a while, they would eventually stop working, and my allergies would come back with a vengeance. Other products would work, but would make me extremely drowsy, which affected my productivity on the days I would take them. No matter what I tried, my allergies would always return. I had virtually given up hope until I learned about this natural remedy which I will discuss next.

Natural treatments for allergies

One day, I was speaking to a colleague of mine about my allergies. She recommended that I try a natural remedy that worked for her, that consisted of mixing a teaspoon of local wild honey and a teaspoon of Turmeric powder. I decided to give it a shot, and that decision has changed my life for the better. Turmeric powder is a yellow powder widely used in Indian cuisine, including the popular curry dishes you may have heard about or even tasted. In India, turmeric is also used medicinally because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin (the active ingredient in Turmeric powder), which is known for its ability to suppress inflammation. Turmeric is often used in India to treat arthritis and other chronic conditions related to inflammation. Honey, as I have discussed in a previous article, has anti-inflammatory properties.[i] Additionally, by consuming local wild honey, that has not been commercially filtered, it may contain the antigens your body is allergic to. This allows your body to build up an immunity to these antigens when exposed to them, which suppresses your allergic response. Overall, Turmeric is safe to use for most individuals but may cause the following side effects in certain people: diarrhea, indigestion, and nausea. Additionally, if you are taking a blood thinner or any other similar medication, you should consult your doctor about the possibilities of an adverse reaction when using these medications along with Turmeric. Pregnant women should also consult their doctor before using turmeric, as it may have a stimulating effect on the uterus. However, let me warn you. This is not a quick fix remedy. You have to consume this mixture every day to achieve your desired allergy relief. If you stop taking this remedy your allergies will return fast and furious.

In addition to the aforementioned treatment for allergies some other natural treatments include:

1 Using quercetin which is a chemical found in plants (apples green tea, onions, and berries to name a few) which have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, and can be taken as a dietary supplement.

2 Stinging nettle which is a type of plant that has been found to have an allergy suppressing effect. Stinging Nettle is available as a powder, tea, or in capsule form. Some individuals grow the plant for their own personal use but it must be handled carefully or it may inflict pain (hence the name stinging nettle.)

3 Saline solutions are also widely used as an allergy treatment and can be purchased at your local pharmacy.[ii]

4 Vitamin C which is found in citrus fruits, and other fruits and vegetables may also help with allergies as it may act as an antihistamine. It can be found as a dietary supplement, or some individuals opt to go to health professionals to have vitamin C administered intravenously.[iii]

I have only used the turmeric and wild honey treatment for my allergies, so I cannot personally attest to the efficacy of the other natural treatments I listed. However, based on my research, these are some of the other natural options available, and they may be worth trying if you cannot tolerate the taste and consistency of the honey and turmeric treatment.

Always Remember- Foods are like friends. Choose them wisely!

[i]   https://healthquickies.com/2017/06/04/is-sugar-free-right-for-mepart-2-natural-sweeteners/

[ii] You flush out your nasal cavity or nose using the saline solution to provide allergy relief.

[iii] Make sure you go to a qualified doctor and health professional before having vitamin c or any other chemical given to intravenously as having substances injected into your bloodstream can have a drastic impact on your health.

 

Sources of information for article are below:

1 van Drimmelen, Meghan. “Natural Treatments for Seasonal Allergies.” Alive: Canada’s Natural Health & Wellness Magazine, no. 402, Apr. 2016, pp. 55-59.

2 Biali, Susan. “Spring Allergies.” Alive: Canada’s Natural Health & Wellness Magazine, no. 331, May 2010, pp. 42-45

3 Marcel, C, BS. “Turmeric.” CINAHL Nursing Guide, 08 Apr. 2016

4 Thalheimer, Judith. “Turmeric Buzz.” Environmental Nutrition, vol. 40, no. 1, Jan. 2017, p. 4.

5 Tweed, Vera. “Today’s Top Herb.” Better Nutrition, vol. 77, no. 2, Feb. 2015, pp. 22-23.

 

5 Things you did not know about fats.

1 Fats are needed by the body

Fats aka lipids are large nutrient molecules that serve several functions in the body including: providing the body insulation to keep warm, adding cushioning for the bones and joints for protection against injury, acting as a source of energy for daily activities, and proper functioning of vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K (which are needed to maintain good eyesight, bone density and structure, blood clotting and much,much more.)

2 Trans-fats are man-made with a few exceptions

Trans-fats are a Frankenstein creation designed by the food industry to add flavor to food, and to keep foods from spoiling. This is accomplished by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats in a process call hydrogenation. Trans-fats are commonly found in processed foods like margarine (and other artificial butter-like products) and in fast foods like French fries, burgers, chips, and certain types of cookies etc. Trans-fats can also be found naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy.

3 Trans-fats are bad                            

As a consumer, you should be wary of the food products you buy, and the types of fats they contain, especially when it comes to processed foods. The trans-fats found in most processed food products are detrimental to human health, and are linked to numerous health conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. If you encounter food products, that mention hydrogenation, or partial hydrogenation, (which is the code word for trans-fats), you should try to avoid buying these types of food products, whenever possible, to safeguard your health.

4 Saturated fats can be used in moderation

Saturated fats, are lipids that are normally solid at room temperature. Examples include butter, chicken (in particular chicken skin, which I usually remove when cooking),other meats, eggs, and coconut oil. Historically, we have been told to stay away from these fats, but some studies have shown that these fats (as long as they are not the type found in fried, processed, or fast foods) may not be as bad as previously thought. They are considered acceptable for use in moderation, as they are needed for proper body function, including hormone production.

5 Unsaturated fats are good

Unsaturated fats are lipids, that are normally liquid at room temperature, and fall into 2 major categories:

Monounsaturated fats which include olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, and many types of nuts. The other type, are polyunsaturated fats, which include:

1 Omega 6 fatty acids which is found in foods including, corn oil, soybean oil, and nuts such as walnuts.

2 Omega 3 fatty acids  which is found in foods such as flax seeds, and in fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel.

Similar to omega 6 fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids, promote proper brain function, growth and development. Additionally, omega 3’s have been found to lower the risk of heart disease (as they decrease the likelihood of clots forming in the blood vessels,) which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, etc. Omega 3’s also reduce inflammation in the body, which is a leading cause of chronic diseases in the body, including cancer and arthritis. Hence, unsaturated fats (in particular foods containing omega 3 fatty acids) should make up the majority of your daily fat consumption, and become a staple in your diet, due to their many health benefits.

Always Remember- Foods are like friends. Choose them wisely!

 Sources of information for article are below:

1 “Getting over the fat phobia.” Harvard Health Letter. Dec2015, Vol. 41 Issue 2, p5-5. 1p.

2 Rodriguez, Melissa. “Dietary Fat and the Martial Arts Athlete.”, Black Belt Oct/Nov2015, Vol. 53 Issue 6, p28

3 Fikes, Bradley J. “Lowering saturated fats doesn’t cut heart disease risk, study finds” By: San Diego Union-Tribune, The (CA). 04/12/2016.

4   “You Are What You Eat, Hence Curtail Saturated and Trans Fats, Free Sugars and Salt.” Manolis HOSPITAL CHRONICLES 2016, 11(2): 65–76