Allergy and asthma sufferers everywhere are ever looking for relief from their annoying symptoms of runny nose, watery eyes, allergy related asthma, nasal congestion, and itchy throat especially during this time of the year as we enter Spring and allergy season. Some of us have had allergies for as long as we can remember while others have developed it gradually over time.
Allergies result from a hypersensitive immune response to environmental irritants that come in contact with the body. By the time the body experiences an allergy, the body has already developed a heightened response to an otherwise ordinary substance. Common allergy triggers include pollen or spores from various grasses, flowers, trees and moulds. Other allergies can stem from pet dander, cleaning products, and environmental pollutants.
This heightened immune response triggers mast cells to release a cascade of inflammatory mediators such as histamine, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins that contribute to allergy and asthma symptoms. When the body experiences prolonged exposure to an allergy, symptoms can get worse and can cause greater risk of inflammation over time.
Thanks to research and education, we now have more control over our allergy symptoms than ever before. Research now tells us that diet has a direct impact on symptoms of asthma and allergy. For example, The British Thoracic Society Journal published a study titled “Effect of Diet on Asthma and Allergic Sensitisation in the International Study on Allergies and Asthma in Childhood”. They found that children who have a higher consumption rate of fruit, vegetables & fish have a lower lifetime prevalence of asthma; however, children who eat things like hamburgers (processed food), have a higher lifetime asthma prevalence. As we change and improve our diet, we can change and improve our allergy and asthma symptoms; it is great news to know that as we improve our diet our immune function can improve.
Having a thriving and flourishing microbiome can also contribute to improving allergy symptoms. The quality of our health is directly related to the quality and range of biodiversity of microbes that we are exposed to, contained within the microbiome. The microbiome includes a collection of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, that live in our gut and other areas of our body. We can improve the quality of our microbiome by spending more time in nature, practising stress-reducing activities, eating fermented foods, choosing whole foods with live enzymes instead of processed foods, introducing probiotics, and washing hands with soap and water instead of over-sanitizing.
With some simple diet and lifestyle changes we can improve symptoms of allergies and allergy-related asthma. If you have any other questions about how to improve your allergies, microbiome or need assistance with increasing the quality of your diet, contact me.