To Your Health
April, 2010 (Vol. 04, Issue 04)
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Increasing intake of antioxidants is also essential to prevent the free radicals which are often elevated in allergies and asthma.

Vitamin C is considered as one of the most important dietary antioxidants for the protection of the lungs, and low levels of blood vitamin C are considered an independent risk factor for allergic rhinitis. Other beneficial antioxidants may include vitamin E, selenium, the carotenoids, and the flavonoids, which all posses powerful free radical quenching capabilities. Of the flavonoid complexes, quercetin appears to be of extreme benefit as it has been shown to limit the production of both histamine and the leukotrienes.

Another nutritional substance that may be of benefit is bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme derived from the juices and stems of pineapples. Bromelain supports anti- inflammatory activity and supports the thinning of mucous to function as a natural decongestant.

Why go through life suffering from allergies if you don't have to? With a few dietary and lifestyle changes, you can face allergy season without stockpiling allergy medications and Kleenex. The big point is that these natural solutions not only fight allergy symptoms, but also help combat the underlying mechanisms which cause allergies while also supporting a healthy immune system. Talk to your doctor for more information about allergies and natural solutions.

Interesting Allergy Risk Factors

  • Children who are fed solid foods too early or receive antibiotic therapy within the first two years of life are more likely to develop both respiratory and food allergies.

  • Exposure to cigarette smoke and other environmental pollutants is another strong indicator of increased allergy risk.

  • Low intake of antioxidants (found in various foods, particularly certain fruits and vegetables) may also increase allergy risk.

  • Low gastric acid secretion (hypochlorhydria) and intestinal overgrowth of yeast (Candida albicans) may contribute to allergy onset as well.

Natural Solutions for Allergies and Their Symptoms

Limit Allergen Exposure: Using an air filter, preferably one that ties into a central heating and air conditioning system, can drastically reduce the build-up of allergens in your home. Pet areas, carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture should be cleansed regularly, and bedding should be washed at least once a week.

Avoid These Foods: Foods that have been closely linked to respiratory allergies include dairy products, chocolate, sugar, and gluten. There is also strong evidence suggesting that certain food additives, including artificial dyes and colorants, sulfites, and benzoates, are culprits.

Eat These Foods: Intake of omega-3 fatty acids has also been shown to support healthy airways and encourage the production of anti-inflammatory mediators. Also consider onions and garlic, ginger, rosemary, curcumin (turmeric), and the herb Boswellia.

Get Your Antioxidants: Increasing intake of antioxidants is also essential to prevent the free radicals which are often elevated in allergies and asthma. This includes vitamins C and E, selenium, carotenoids, and flavonoids. Bromelain, an enzyme, can also help.

Clair Whiteman, BSc, received her degree in nutrition and dietetics from Bastyr University in Washington state. She is currently the on-staff nutritionist for BioGenesis Nutraceuticals, a professional-grade supplement line.