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Monday
Oct032011

Miserable from Allergies?

Written by: Anika Christ, RD, CISSN, CPT - Life Time Fitness

Do you regularly experience itchy eyes, a stuffy nose and phlegm-filled throat? At this time of year, these symptoms are about as prevalent to Americans as fantasy football. Allergies seem to be on the rise, and if you are like most individuals, you’ve probably dabbled in some of the drugs and sprays geared towards decreasing these symptoms.  But many of us don’t find relief from these treatments, because we’ve either become immune to their long-term use or because we’re not interested in common side effects, such as fatigue or depletion of nutrients and gut flora. 

Whatever the case, be sure that your typical health routine (nutrition, exercise and supplements) actually helps relieve your pain, not heighten your symptoms.  If you are a seasonal sufferer, try these tips below today.

Nutrition

When it comes to nutrition, you want to focus on foods that can help fight off inflammation and avoid foods that will enhance it. 

  1. Don’t forget your omega-3s: These nutrients (ALA and EPA, in particular) fight inflammation, and in turn, can decrease related symptoms. Foods high in omega-3s include coldwater fish, walnuts, flaxseed and grass-fed meats.
  2. Add some spice to your life!  Chili powder, hot pepper and hot mustards can act as natural decongestants. Add them to your meals to help keep your airways clean.
  3. Drink tea. Some hot teas can help calm and cool your throat. Add a small amount of organic honey to help defuse any scratchiness or irritation. 
  4. Ditch your top allergen foods.  Some seasonal allergy sufferers actually have food sensitivities. The obvious culprits include cow dairy, wheat, gluten, corn, soy and peanuts.  Try to avoid these foods during prime-time allergy season to help keep your body free from additional inflammation and your mucous levels low.

Exercise

When suffering from allergy symptoms, many of us might avoid exercise all together. Breathing is an important factor to exercise, but it can be very difficult to do when our airways are filled with phlegm.  On the other side, we don’t want to push our workouts too hard and encourage even more stress on our immune system, which can worsen our symptoms.  To ensure you don’t go overboard, try some of these tips to keep your body moving and fighting:

  1. Focus on light to moderate cardio and strength training and keep your duration to 30 minutes or less. Your body can still encourage a sweat without creating a high inflammatory response.
  2. Try some yoga. Yoga can be a great regenerative form of exercise that minimizes stress hormones being released and strengthen your body systems. 
  3. Take a sauna.  Utilizing the dry sauna in the club can be especially relieving for the sinuses and airways. Try to go for 10-15 minutes a few times each week for optimal relief. 

Supplements

Setting your body’s best defenses is key during allergy season. Certain nutrients and supplements can help boost your body’s immune system.  At this time of year be sure to add these immune-boosting supplements to your foundational multivitamin and fish oil:

  1. Get your bugs. Probiotics can help put good flora back into your gut, especially if you do turn to drug therapy that ends up depleting your current population. Because 70 percent of our immunity begins in our gut, it’s important to have healthy bacteria there. For a high-quality pharmaceutical grade probioyic, check out Douglas Laboratories Multiprobiotic-4000.
  2. Take your sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D is crucial for gut function and immunity. The Vitamin D Council recommends 5,000 IU for adults.  Make sure you take at least the daily minimum dose at this time of year.
  3. Pump up your Ascorbic Acid, or vitamin C. This potent antioxidant works in many pathways in the body but is most known for enhancing the immune system. Start with 500-1000 milligrams per day. 

See: VitaminDCouncil.org

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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Reader Comments (3)

My wife has noticed a dramatic reduction in her allergies since she started taking the LTF MultiProbiotic 4000 on a daily basis. She actually noticed more of a difference when we ran out and she did not take them for 5 days.

October 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWallaby

I had the same effect. I increased dose of the Mutiprobiotic 4000 to 3x per day and COMPLETELY eliminated my typical spring allergies. As an experiment I stayed off them late summer/early fall and had the usual symptomatic issues.

October 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMattKing

Well said... Ditch your top allergen foods. Some seasonal allergy sufferers actually have food sensitivities. The obvious culprits include cow dairy, wheat, gluten, corn, soy and peanuts. Try to avoid these foods during prime-time allergy season to help keep your body free from additional inflammation and your mucous levels low. I agree.

March 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt PA

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