This time of year is so beautiful with everything in bloom. For some people, the arrival of the blooms also means the arrival of seasonal allergies. When seasonal allergy symptoms kick in many people will report they feel sick and have symptoms such as watery, stinging and congested eyes, sinus congestion, nasal discharge, sore throat, aches and pains in joints and muscles and an overall sense of fatigue. Many people just feel “sick.” So, what can be done about seasonal allergies? Next month we will have a feature article about all the ways you can deal with these, but here are some tips to get you started:
- Change your air filters regularly
- Use an air purifying system in your home and car
- Keep yourself well-hydrated to keep secretions thin
- Change your pillows regularly
- Increase your Vitamin C to 2,000 units a day unless you have a condition that causes you to have difficulty breaking down this vitamin
- Try adding in 600 mg of NAC a day to help break down the mucous build up
- Sip on some stinging nettles tea throughout the day
- Consider an Imhauser allergy treatment (more info coming next month)
- Avoid all your common food allergens to reduce over stimulation of your immune system
- Use a netti pot with saline solution
- Do a peppermint or eucalyptus steam in the evening and morning
- Use a humidifier at night
- If you are very sensitive to pollens, consider wearing a face mask when you have to be outside for extended periods of time
SPRING CLEANING, INSIDE AND OUT
Our bodies are exposed to toxins on a daily basis from the air we breathe to the products we use. There are several body systems that help us eliminate these toxins such as our liver, our kidneys, and even our sweat. But, these systems can get overwhelmed and often need a little help and support. This is often referred to as doing a “detoxification.” Modern living can bring us into contact with so many toxins that everyone could use a good detox, especially in the spring!
Detoxification is the process of reducing the amount of toxins that we are exposed to in order to rest the detoxification pathways in the body, as well as encourage the release of toxins that are stored in the body. There are a variety of methods for detoxing the body. Most consist of resting the body by eliminating solid foods for a short time and instead consuming cleansing foods such as special broths, juices, teas, herbs or supplements. After the cleansing period is over, a very clean diet is slowly reintroduced.
It is important to seek the assistance of a Naturopathic Doctor for any detoxification. Several hidden factors can complicate a detox if undertaken without professional help such as blood sugar issues, or if a person has been exposed to heavy metals or other dangerous toxins.
Cleansing the Environment
A clean body will only benefit us so long without the support of a clean environment. There are several sources of toxins in our environment that need to be addressed. The most important is toxins in our food supply. It is important to be eating organic fruits and vegetables, organic meats, non-GMO whole grains, and limit processed foods as these contain dyes, flavor enhancers, preservatives, and other industrial chemicals. Clean water is also a must, including filtered water in non-toxic containers. Glass is the best storage container for water, followed by stainless steel, and BPA-free plastic.
Another area of toxic exposure is in our homes. Household cleaners, laundry products, lawn care chemicals, and bug sprays expose us to numerous chemicals and petroleum based toxins. Even cosmetics, perfumes, shampoos, face washes, deodorants, and toothpastes have chemicals that can disrupt our health. Health food stores offer environmentally-friendly, all-natural products.
Cleansing the Spirit
One overlooked area of detox is our thoughts and emotions. To truly embrace the benefits of a spring clean, we must also look at the mental and emotional environment we live in every day. Chronic stress is one of the most toxic emotions to live with on a daily basis. Not only can it tax the body by stimulating stress hormones, it taxes the spirit and positive mental outlook. Other toxic emotions such as anger, resentment, jealousy, anxiety, and depression need to be dealt with. Naturopathic Medicine helps support more than just your body, it helps support the whole person including one’s emotional state. By working with a Naturopathic Doctor, you can gently release negative emotions and embrace your own innate health and vitality.
Some strategies everyone can use to help support their spring cleaning are deep cleansing breaths, meditation, staying hydrated with clean water and exercising.
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RECIPE: GREENS DRINK
This recipe makes 3 servings of a nourishing greens drink that is high in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, and cleaning properties. Not only will it help renew the body, it helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This will keep you satisfied much longer.
• 1/2 cucumber, seeded
• 2 cups torn kale leaves, stems removed
• 1 cup spinach or Swiss chard
• 1 cup parsley, cilantro, dandelion leaves (based on taste)
• 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled
• 2 teaspoons lemon zest
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon raw coconut oil
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree. Drink immediately.
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Dandelion. University of Maryland Medical Center. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/dandelion-000236.htm#ixzz2NXZV8hAL
Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. 2000. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
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Ernst, E. et. al. 1990. Regular Sauna Bathing and the Incidence of Common Colds.
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Sun, Y. et. al. 2011. Prenatal Exposure to Elevated Maternal Body Temperature and Risk of Epilepsy in Childhood: A Population-based Pregnancy Cohort Study. Paediatric Perinatal Epidemiology 25(1):53-9.
This Daily Habit Can Burn Heavy Metals and Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Body. Mercola.com. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/22/steve-benda-on-saunas-and-emf.aspx
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