Happy springtime, everyone! The sun is up early, the birds are chirping, the wind is blowing, all is blossoming around us, and the farmers markets are about to be bursting with fresh produce!
But it’s not all roses and sunshine for people who suffer from seasonal allergies. Many of us are burdened with sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, a runny nose, hives, inflammation and ill-thoughts toward the very best of the year. No one is stopping to smell the roses when their histamines (chemicals that are our immune system’s frontline responders) are running amok and in overdrive– attacking anything and everything it thinks is an invader.
A little known fact is that food can be naturally either high or low in histamines, and therefore being selective in your diet can actually support your body get through allergy season! Therefore, a way to support the body to address histamine over-activity is by avoiding foods that are high in histamines, or histamine-releasing. These foods are:
- Meat, fish and poultry
- Fermented foods
- Processed foods
Some seasonings, nuts, fruits (like citrus ones) and vegetables are also high in histamines and best to avoid as well, but the above list is a good place to start.
So, what can you eat? A vegan diet made up of only whole foods with plenty of healthy fats, whole grains and legumes, vegetables and some fruit is ideal. Vitamin C is also an antihistamine, so if you’d like to supplement with Vitamin C please talk to your healthcare provider about this option.
But is it enough to simply cut out the high histamine foods from the diet? In my opinion, it’s usually not. It is difficult to abstain from some of our favourite foods for long periods of time, and what’s more is that eliminating foods to avoid a histamine response isn’t necessarily addressing any underlying issues that could need your attention as well.
Often times, a histamine issues can be associated with gut issues, as histamine also plays an important role in the digestive system. The more we learn, the more we recognize that to have whole body health, we need to support the gut. It is, after all, the main entryway into the body and where the majority of our immune cells reside. So to build a strong, resilient body, you have to support a strong gut. This is achieved by addressing any digestive issues such as SIBO, leaky gut, allergies, bowel issues (irritable bowel, constipation, diarrhea), heartburn and indigestion.
I suffered from seasonal allergies for 10 years, but ever since I cleared up my gut issues, the hay fever symptoms haven’t returned and I can enjoy everything blooming around me!
Eating in season is also a great way of making sure you’re feeding your body the nutrients and enzymes that are essential for the particular climate we’re in. Now is the perfect time to seek out your local farmers market as the summer ones are popping up this month! To find a market close to you, please click here: http://markets.bcfarmersmarket.org/
Stock up and your fruits and veggies, aim for a vegetarian/vegan diet, and don’t forget to listen to your gut. It is the most important system to support for whole body health.