Spring is now well under way with blossoms on the trees and plants sending out new shoots. The weather is warming up and most people find this time of year gives a boost of positivity after the winter months. However, with all this beautiful foliage also comes an increase in pollens, which for some people can be the start of a season of sinus!
Given world events, where sneezing now gets you a cautious sideways look, how do you know if irritation has been triggered by pollen? Itching, watery eyes, and irritation in the nasal passages will also appear.
Why do some people have reactions to substances that are fine for others? Problems often start to show up during childhood and there is a genetic propensity, leading to allergen issues affecting many family members. Our environment can also impact how people are affected, with exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins weakening the immune system.
How does the process work – from inhaling pollen to overwhelming irritation? Put simply, it’s your body’s defence system in action. Inhaled pollens get trapped in the sinus tissues and creates irritation when the allergen releases an enzyme. This convinces the immune system that a foreign invader is present and responds to this perceived attack by releasing chemicals cause the tissues to swell. This can make nose breathing very difficult, preventing us from smelling the sweet spring flowers and sea breezes.
Of course, you could stay indoors when pollen levels are high, but that’s far from ideal when it is lovely and sunny outdoors. It is possible to get fit for the allergen season, by making sure your digestive system and liver are performing well. This helps the way the body responds to inhaled pollens. Above this there are some other natural health tips that you could look at for support in the sunnier months:
Vitamin C is helpful for supporting the maintenance of normal tissue tone in the sinus area and as an antioxidant, it can help the body clear away the by-products of immune system responses. It also supports the way the immune cells release histamine as a normal reaction to allergens.
Flavonoids such as rutin and quercetin are often found alongside Vitamin C in fruits, often in the pith. They work synergistically with Vitamin C to support sinus tone and normal histamine response. So, if you are eating fruits like mandarins make sure you eat the white bits on the fruit as they are the richest source of flavonoids. Also, increase foods like onions, garlic, apples, broccoli and berries, which are all rich in the flavonoid quercetin.
Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM as it’s more commonly known, is a natural sulphur-based substance. It supports healthy blood flow to the tissues and like Vitamin C, works on healthy tissue tone. It can be absorbed through the skin or mucous membranes to support the underlying tissues, so it is often found in topical sprays.
Quail egg protein
Using quail eggs to support allergen response may seem rather strange. However, it was found that they contain special ovomucoid proteins which support the nasal tissues that have been exposed to the enzymes released by pollens. When quail eggs are ingested, the proteins help the body form a barrier between the enzymes and nasal tissues. If the enzymes are blocked in this way it means the immune system is not exposed to them, no exposure = no reaction!
Probiotics support the digestive system which plays an important role for immune balance. Science has shown a positive connection between probiotic consumption and healthy immune response to allergens.
Avoid high histamine foods
Since excess histamine is the source of irritation, managing its levels in the body is important. Some foods are naturally high in histamines and should only be eaten in moderation by those who are experiencing allergen issues. Dried fruits, canned foods, fermented foods like older cheeses and sauerkraut, meat stocks, dried meats like salami and biltong. Alcohol can also be a trigger - often wine, with white wine being the worst.