Got some fall allergy symptoms happening? Wondering what you can do nutritionally? A lot! Gut health, diet, stress management, and sleep all help regulate the immune system.
Diet plays a HUGE role in supporting your immune system. People who remove sugar and dairy from their diet report much less mucus, decreasing post nasal drip, stuffy nose, and frequency of sinus infections.
Most of the immune system lies in the gut’s lining, so taking measures to improve gut health can reduce any inflammatory or allergy symptoms. Often cross-reactivity of foods and environmental allergies can worsen allergy symptoms.
A diet rich in flavonoids, or antioxidants, like those found in plants, onions, green tea, berries, and apples, can reduce allergy symptoms.
Quercetin is a phytonutrient (a nutrient found in plants’ color) found in both food and supplements. Quercetin is known for its ability to stabilize mast cells, diminishing histamine release, the compound known to cause hypersensitivity reactions during seasonal changes.
Quercetin is found in:
Supplement forms of quercetin often use one of these vegetables to make the capsules. Quercetin is an excellent non-drowsy option for an anti-histamine. *
HISTAMINE & THE ALLERGIC RESPONSE
In healthy people, the naturally-occurring histamine we consume is quickly “deactivated” by enzymes in the gut. For those with allergies or histamine intolerance, there is either an unusually high production of histamine internally, the activity of the enzymes responsible for getting rid of it is unusually low, or both. When you pile on many high-histamine foods and beverages, you have a recipe for headaches, nasal congestion, hives, fatigue, etc. Symptoms appear when there is more histamine in your body than it can handle. So: if there’s an overwhelming amount of histamine-inducing stuff for you to deal with at one time, you get allergy symptoms, a manifestation of what we’ll call “histamine overload” or an overflowing “histamine bucket.”
Histamines are chemicals created by our cells that respond to an allergen or trigger. Think of them as the first line of defense to fight an invader. When we contact a trigger, our immune system sends a signal to our mast cells. These cells are found in our lungs, bone marrow, skin, nose, mouth, and digestive system. Mast cells store and release histamine in response, and blood is released to that area of the body. As inflammation kicks in, additional chemicals help heal the irritation.
Histamines can cause sneezing, itching, or watery eyes when exposed to pollen, dust, and pets. While meant to protect us, histamines can quickly get out of control. When our body accumulates too much histamine, and intolerance occurs due to an imbalance.
The low histamine diet may help people who develop symptoms, such as sneezing, itching, or hives, in response to foods that contain histamine. Histamine is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body and some foods.
The following foods are known or suspected to support our body’s ability to manage histamine. These foods are also full of antioxidants, which makes them an excellent addition to any diet.
· Wild blueberries
· Apples – high in Quercetin
· Arugula or rocket lettuce
· Watercress lettuce
· Fennel – aids digestion
· Red onion – high in Quercetin
*P.S. A supplement called D hist contains a combination of quercetin vitamin C, bromelain, and stinging nettle to calm the body’s immune system and prevent an overreaction to pollen.
Christina C Wilson MS, CNS, LN