As most of us happily shove our thick socks, umbrellas and wool coats in the back of the closet, however depending on our dubious new years resolutions…perhaps not so happily dig out our swim suits, sandals and white linen to enjoy the beautiful weather and colors of spring.
Spring is the season of new bloom with buds blooming at rates higher and longer to date. Can it be that our warming planet of burning fossil fuels, deforestation and rising atmospheric CO2 creates meadows of dandelions, tulips and daffodils?
Toss those utopic-petaled shades, kick up your sandals and enjoy your mint julep in the yard of ragweed and mold.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Carbon pollution is the main reason for our extreme weather and climate change. As pollination exacerbates, rain and higher temperatures increase molds and fungi while droughts produce more dust. This creates a most desirable environment for uninvited guests (allergies) to the best patio, backyard and pool-deck parties of the season.
Allergies are your immune’s reaction to foreign particles (allergens.) This defense activates “mast” immune cells to release inflammatory support (histamine, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins,) which trigger sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, hacky cough, itchy eyes, etc.
Pollen is an extremely common mast cell activator, but mold spores, dust, airborne contaminants, dust mites, pet dander, cockroaches, environmental chemicals, cleaning products, personal care products and foods are potential allergens that can activate an immune response as well.
Spring Potluck: BYODS (Bring your own drug store)
While allergies are often reactively treated with decongestants and antihistamines, these drugs only mask symptoms and may increase heart rate, blood pressure, and drowsiness. If you are seeking to reduce and/or alleviate your body’s natural immune response to allergens, focus on proactive strategies to modify your diet and lifestyle.
The first step to increasing your body’s natural defense is to eat more wholesome foods prepared at home rather than on the go. This may require a spring-clean of mop, SOS pad, Clorox, broom, Drano, rust cleaner, Sanitizer and a BIG trash to prepare the kitchen for proper use.
Vegetables and fruits are filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support your body’s chemistry at a cellular level.
Foods that help seasonal allergies
Notably, vitamin C in oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes, red peppers, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts and broccoli and dietary polyphenols including gingerol (ginger,) quercetin found in red wine, tea, onions, leafy green vegetables, apples, berries, red grapes, red onions, and EBCG (green tea extract) counteract the inflammatory immune response histamine and inhibit the secretion of mucus respectively.
Simply by eating the colors of the rainbow as aforementioned with the extensive list above, one can encourage a healthy immune system without a prescription, elixir, cocktail, detox or mega-dose!
Please note, omega-3 fatty acids also decrease inflammation and notably promote brain and cholesterol health. Ensure you are eating at least one serving of grass-fed meat, salmon, halibut, mackerel, flaxseed, walnuts, almonds and/or avocados into your daily routine.
After loading-up your hypoallergenic and environmentally friendly canvas tote with Organic, NON-GMO, Kosher, Gluten-Dairy-Soy Free groceries, it is also recommended to supplement with probiotics and vitamin D to support your digestive tract.
Confused? Interestingly, besides the rather uncomfortable and/or amusing coffee-talk regarding the size, shape, color, noises and smells of elimination, your digestive tract plays an essential role in your immune system!
Your gastrointestinal is directly received by the outside environment (bacteria, protozoa, fungi, viruses and/or toxic substances) and therefore is composed of gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) that represents almost 70% of the entire immune system.
It should be noted, beneficial bacteria (gut flora) stimulate GALT to deliver protective immunity however an imbalance in this gut flora from diet, stress, travel, exposure to illness and medication promote unhealthy microbes to proliferate and therefore lead to a compromised and/or negative immune response. Taking a daily probiotic supplement encourages restoration of these processes.
Microorganisms compose 1 to 3 percent of one’s body mass and equivalent to 2-6 pounds depending on body weight!!
As for vitamin D, supplementation also provides significance as research reports 59% of the population is deficient. Vitamin D functions to support bone health and notably have receptors expressed on immune cells (B cells, T cells and antigen presenting cells), which affect the immune response in particular, autoimmunity and infection.
Full body sunbathing produces vitamin D. Where is that swimsuit you recovered earlier? Eek, Yikes! A few more mint juleps and you will frolic in the spring field of ragweed with confidence and delight.
Adequate exercise, sleep, stress management and home proofing are also essential lifestyle components to improve your overall immunity and health.