I freakin’ love spring. I love warmer weather, longer days, and watching everything bloom. What I do not love is how my body responds to everything that blooms. Growing up I never had bad allergies, but as soon as I moved to Nashville, they got BAD. This is the case for most people here, since Nashville is in a valley and all of the pollen from surrounding areas manages to make its way down to us. So great!!
No matter where you’re located, allergies suck, and while taking a daily antihistamine may seem like the easiest solution, they can have all sorts of short and long term side effects, including sleepiness, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, weight gain, mood changes, and even an increased risk for alzheimers. Don’t get me wrong, an antihistamine here and there isn’t going to kill you (or give you alzheimers), but taking one daily year after year probably isn’t great for your brain health. With so many other options, why risk it?
Below I’ve listed some of the best ways to reduce your allergy symptoms and help yourself limit your exposure to pollen.
1. Protect your eyes and face. Wear a hat and sunglasses when you’re outside, especially on windy days when it’s easy for pollen to get into your eyes, nose or mouth.
2. Keep clean! Pollen sticks to your hair and clothes, so try to rinse off every night and change into fresh clothes before getting into bed to minimize the amount of pollen you’re exposed to indoors. Nothing is worse than waking up in the morning already suffering from allergy symptoms. Wash your sheets regularly, and try to avoid super fuzzy rugs and pillows as they are a magnet for pollen.
3. Wipe down your pup. Just like it sticks to us, pollen sticks to our pets, so make sure to wipe them down with either soap and warm water, or wipes after taking them outside to avoid them tracking pollen into your home and onto your furniture.
4. Eat (or drink) local honey. There are two ways local honey can benefit you during allergy season. The first is taking a spoonful of it everyday, whether is be in your tea, smoothie, coffee, etc., to help your body build up an immunity to local pollens. If you want local honey to have this immunity-building benefit, you have to be consistent. The second (lower-commitment) way is to take it as needed to coat and soothe your itchy throat when your allergies do flair up. If you're in Nashville, my favorite place to get local honey is Tennessee Artisan Honey at the Farmer's Market.
5. Use a saline nasal spray. Saline sprays help dilute and clear seasonal pollen out of your nasal passages. I know Neti pots are kind of gross, but if you’re really suffering, it’s the quickest and most effective way to rinse all of that pollen out!
6. Support your gut by increasing your probiotic intake. Like most things, allergies are rooted in your gut, so supporting your gut health through a daily probiotic supplement or increasing your intake of probiotic-rich foods like pickles, coconut yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi can help alleviate some of your annoying allergy symptoms.
7. Avoid dairy and other inflammatory foods. Everyone’s least favorite thing, I know. But inflammatory foods, especially dairy, can wreak havoc on your gut and cause your sinuses to swell, which is the last thing we need when our noses are already stuffy. Dairy also contributes to mucus production, another thing we really don’t need when trying to ease our allergy symptoms.
8. Take your ACV. Apple cider vinegar is known for being helpful for all kinds of health issues, specifically balancing your digestive health, improving inflammation and helping maintain an alkaline pH, all of which are helpful is fighting allergies. I usually put a teaspoon or two in morning tea along with some lemon to dilute the taste. If you really can’t handle the taste, you can get it in a supplement form here.
9. Sip some Stinging Nettle Tea. Stinging nettle tea has been proven to reduce allergy symptoms and reduce overall inflammation in your body. The plant also contains vitamin C and chlorophyll, which help support your immune system. If you’re not a tea person, you can also get stinging in capsule form here.
10. Bump those essential oils. Peppermint, lavender and lemon oils are going to be your saving grace for allergy season. Together they act as a natural antihistamine and stop the inflammatory response associated with allergies. You can either diffuse this blend, or put a few drops under your nose or on your temples.
Use these is whatever combination they work for you. Don’t let pollen season stop your from enjoying the beauty of spring!
If you have questions, or have any of your own holistic allergy remedies, shoot me a DM on Instagram or drop them in the comments below!