Allergies Putting a Stop to the Spring in Your Step?
Spring is in full swing…and bloom. Yes, it is beautiful to see the buds on the trees and flowers adding vibrant colors to the seas of green grass, but for many of us the season of growth and renewal means sniffling, sneezing and watery eyes.
By the end of winter, our bodies are dried out. Specific foods continue to dry out our body and cause irritation and aggravation. Our bodies produce mucus as a way to eliminate these irritants from our bodies, producing the symptoms that we recognize as “spring allergies.” The good news is that by reducing the amount of irritants we put into our bodies, we can leave the tissues, Claritin and eye drops at home!
Here are my top five ways to reduce or eliminate symptoms caused by spring allergies.
Avoid wheat, sugar, dairy & food additives
Wheat, sugar, dairy and food additives create irritation in our bodies and produce the excess mucus that causes congestion and aggravation. For example, if you are allergic to grass, then eating wheat will only further aggravate and dry your body out.
Whether you decide to cut out foods with dairy during allergy season or permanently, you might wonder how you’ll be able to get the recommended amount of calcium without your daily glass of milk. The most efficient way to get your calcium is by eating vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), fruits, beans and nuts. Caffeine, sodas, sugar, spinach and nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant) actually cause calcium depletion.
Load up on produce
Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, like berries and spinach, help prevent free-radical damage to cells that weaken the immune system. Foods with vitamin C and E have anti-inflammatory properties that can help decrease the irritation in your respiratory passages that causes congestion.
Dark leafy greens strengthen the immune and respiratory systems, clear congestion and eliminate mucus. Kale, collards, dandelion greens, bok choy…the list goes on and on.
Spice it up
Spicy foods increase blood flow, bringing oxygen to your nasal passages and eliminating mucus.
Hydrate and repeat
Like I said, our bodies are dry from winter and therefore create mucus as an attempt to eliminate irritants. Help move things along by staying hydrated. A hydrated mucus membrane thins the mucus and allows it to drain more easily.
Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids have strong anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce respiratory symptoms like congestion. Almonds and ground flax seeds are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Gradual shifts in your routine can be made to help you experience freedom from your allergies and other chronic ailments. Relief is possible!
Spring Time Pasta
The light garlic-based sauce and green veggies make it perfect for spring.
8 ounces whole grain pasta
2 heads garlic cloves, peeled (about 25-30 cloves)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 head broccoli, chopped
½ cup fresh peas
3 kale leaves, finely chopped
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place garlic cloves on tinfoil and drizzle with grapeseed oil. Enclose the garlic in the foil and roast until tender—about 25 minutes.
Fill a medium-size pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook broccoli, cherry tomatoes and peas for about 90 seconds and strain. Rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Before you strain the pasta, add chopped kale and cook for remaining 1 or 2 minutes. Strain pasta and kale.
Use a blender to puree the roasted garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.
In medium pot, add strained pasta, broccoli, peas, cherry tomatoes and kale. Pour sauce and coat evenly. Serve warm.