Cure Your Seasonal Allergies Naturally
April 10th, 2015
Spring is here! If you are like most people, that means you’re looking for ways to prevent, reduce, and even eliminate your seasonal allergy symptoms. For those of you who are living on daily doses of over-the-counter allergy medication, I’ve got some great news: you CAN cure seasonal allergies naturally and effectively. Here’s how.
Step One: Identify your food sensitivities with an elimination diet.
Seasonal allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion, are signals that your immune system is responding to something in the environment, such as pollen in the air. But the air you breathe is only one way that foreign substances can get into your body and trigger an immune response. In fact, 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. It’s the place in your body that interacts with the outside world more than any other, taking in nutrients from food and keeping out bacteria, pathogens, and undigested food.
If you are eating foods on a regular basis that you are sensitive to, those foods are putting your immune system on constant high alert. Your overactive, overstimulated immune system becomes hypersensitive to seasonal allergens, and your immune response manifests in symptoms such as congestion, coughing, itchy eyes, and sneezing.
A food “sensitivity” is not the same as a food allergy, and you could be sensitive to a particular food without knowing it. The main purpose of an elimination diet is to determine which foods are causing problems for your immune system, ie to which foods you are sensitive or intolerant. We are looking for IgG or delayed reactions to foods rather than IgE or immediate reactions or allergies to foods. If you have an allergy to a food, you likely already know it. For example, if you eat a strawberry and break into a rash within an hour, you have an allergy to strawberries, and that is an IgE reaction. If however you eat a bagel and two days later you have a headache or stuffy nose, then that could be a sign of a gluten sensitivity, which is an IgG or delayed immune reaction.
I put every patient who comes to see me on an elimination diet that I call The Myers Way®. During the elimination diet, you remove a number toxic and inflammatory foods from your diet for a period of a few weeks, and then you add them back in while gauging your symptoms. In general, if you feel your symptoms improve or resolve after eliminating a certain food, and if you feel your symptoms get worse after adding it back into your diet, you’re likely sensitive to that food and will need to avoid it.
In my book, The Autoimmune Solution, I walk you through the exact steps to complete The Myers Way® elimination diet, with 30 days of meal plans and recipes to help you!
Step Two: IgG Food Sensitivity Testing.
In addition to doing The Myers Way® elimination diet, many of my patients opt to get a blood test called an IgG Food Sensitivity Test to determine any other foods to which they are sensitive. The advantage of the Food Sensitivity Testing is that it test for 155 foods, whereas in The Myers Way® you are only testing for the top most inflammatory foods. I do believe that your body knows better than any test, so I highly recommended going through The Myers Way® as well as doing the Food Sensitivity Testing.
The Food Sensitivity Test is different than traditional allergy testing in that it is checking for IgG or delayed immune reactions. Allergy testing checks for IgE or immediate immune reactions.
Food sensitivities or intolerances can develop over time, often because of a poor diet and a leaky gut. The consequences of improper food choices can manifest as food sensitivities and cause weight gain, fatigue, sinus problems, acne, mood swings, and other inflammatory symptoms. Putting your body into a constant state of inflammation can place you on the autoimmune spectrum and eventually push you over the edge into autoimmune disease.
Because the reactions can take up to 72 hours to occur they can be very difficult to recognize. Eating a diet low in these inflammatory foods reduces excess swelling and fluid accumulation in your tissues, which will assist with your body’s healing and detoxification processes and reduce seasonal allergies symptoms.
Step Three: A Comprehensive Stool Test.
If you have seasonal allergies, you probably end up with sinus infections and are prescribed antibiotics. Unfortunately, antibiotics don’t discriminate between the good bacteria you need, and the bad bacteria that are making you sick. When antibiotics kill off most or all of your good bacteria, you can end up with intestinal yeast or Candida overgrowth.
Candida alone can worsen seasonal allergy symptoms as well as cause intestinal damage leading to increased intestinal permeability, or leaky gut. Leaky gut then further increases one’s susceptibility to food sensitivities, which exacerbates the problem and worsens seasonal allergy symptoms.
Typical symptoms of Candida overgrowth include itching (especially in the anal or genital region or ears), bloating or gas, eczema-like rash or diaper rash, intense sugar cravings, headache, brain fog, anxiety, depression, and even mood imbalances like ADD/ADHD. Candida infections can be confirmed by either a blood test or a comprehensive stool test. I tend to find that the comprehensive stool test picks up Candida more often than the blood test. Any functional medicine practitioner should be able to order this test for you.
You can find more information about Candida overgrowth in my book, The Autoimmune Solution, as well as specific dietary recommendations that will help eradicate the infection. For my patients, I generally prescribe an anti-fungal medication for 30 days, and I recommend that they supplement with candisol or Caprylic Acid, which are plant-based enzymes that ‘poke holes’ in the yeast cell wall to eradicate the Candida.
Don’t let seasonal allergies get in your way this spring. You can get to the root of the problem by identifying food sensitivities and addressing gut infections! Check out The Autoimmune Solution to get my entire, 30-day program I use with all of my patients to treat the full spectrum of inflammatory symptoms and diseases, including seasonal allergies.
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