Top Suggestions for Seasonal Allergy Relief

Dr. Finger's Top Suggestions for Seasonal Allergy Relief

Allergy symptoms can make you feel awful. Congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, sore throat, and coughing can wear your body down and cause you to feel fatigued day after day. Certain people also experience a dizzy feeling or fullness in the ears. For some, fall is the height of allergies with the ragweed and mold. For others, spring is a challenge with its pollen, grass, weeds and trees. And still others need to pay attention to indoor allergens. While severity of symptoms varies, most people would agree that allergies just make you feel lousy!

So why do some people have allergies and others don’t?

Spring-allergy-girl-sneezing-pollen-garden-50378943

Allergy symptoms are caused when our bodies release histamine in response to a stressor (allergen). Allergies occur when the immune system is over-reacting to a trigger causing an inflammatory response and this inflammatory response becomes our symptoms. So, the goal here is to support and/or modulate the immune response along with decreasing the triggers that weaken the body. We are more susceptible to allergies at times of stress or with lack of sleep. 

Treating allergy symptoms takes a multi-pronged approach which includes diet, lifestyle changes, and natural therapies. 

DIET
During allergy season you should avoid foods you are allergic or sensitive to. If you are not sure what those might be and if you have never done an Elimination Diet, do one!  The Elimination Diet is so revealing of what foods our specific bodies like and do not like. If you need help, come on in and talk to me about doing an elimination diet. 
Foods that commonly pose a problem during allergy season include (but not limited to): sugar, dairy, gluten, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and citrus. Be sure to stay hydrated during this time also!

LIFESTYLE

  • Shower before bed
  • Wash your clothes after being outside and wash your bedding on a hot setting once a week
  • Clean your house (dust) and de-clutter every week
  • Neti Pot daily – this is a “shower” for your nasal passages
  • Sleep - work on healthy routines and patterns for sleep
  • Manage your Stress - think about all those great stress relieving techniques we have discussed and implement them!

NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS
For best results start 30 days in advance of allergy symptom onset and take daily. This list is not exhaustive and certainly one is not expected to do all these things. For a protocol specific to your allergy needs, call the office for a visit with me and we will create one for you. 

  • Spirulina - recently, this "super food" had some good press! Research is finding spirulina can decrease histamine response. You can find spirulina in many green powders or by itself.
  • Quercetin - one of my favorites! Research shows this plant pigment (flavonoid) can stop the production and release of histamine.
  • Stinging Nettles - an herb which contains anti-inflammatory and immune supportive qualities that can be used alongside quercetin.
  • Bromelain - this enzyme found in pineapple helps reduce inflammation
  • Essential Oils - my favorites for allergies would be lavender, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, purification
  • Vitamins A, C, and Zinc - are all immune supportive and great choices for allergy season
  • Probiotics - because, well, everyone should be working on their gastrointestinal health!  😊 Probiotics modify the intestinal flora in the gut and can help boost the immune system.

Here’s to needing fewer and fewer tissues to get through the season!
 
In health,
Dr. Finger  
 


What is important to buy organic?

This is a common question from patients.  I often hear, "I cannot afford to buy all organic food, so what are the most important organic foods to purchase? 

Rating high on the list are foods that contain proteins and fats.  This is because animals store toxins, pesticides, drugs in their adipose tissue or fat tissue.  It is important to choose your meats wisely.  

Confused about what fruits and vegetables to buy organic?  The foods that have a very porous skin, making it harder to wash away pesticides, are important to choose organic.  Below is a list of foods that you should always buy organic:

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Bell Peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes
  11. Carrots
  12. Pears

Print this list and keep it in your wallet for your next grocery store visit!

Be Well,

Alison


Vitamin D: What's the Hype?

More than 40% of the population above age 50 may be vitamin D-deficient.  Since this vitamin is needed for utilization of calcium, even a small deficiency may promote the body to develop osteopenia and then later osteoporosis no matter how much supplemental calcium you take or get through diet.    Vitamind

Vitamin D is made from a precursor when UV (ultraviolet) light or sunlight hits the skin.  It is thought that at least 75% of vitamin D supplies come from the sun light.  Today, we are seeing more and more people who are vitamin D deficient and believe it is because we are taking precaution against skin cancer by using sunblock. 

Studies have shown that vitamin D may play a role in weight control, decreasing fatigue, prevention of some cancers, decreasing inflammation, supporting people who suffer from mental illness and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and multiple sclerosis. 

This time of year is the best time to ask your physician to test your plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D level. 

If you test low, it is common that your physician will suggest 50,000 IU of Vitamin D per week.  If your levels are normal, it can be a healthy practice to take 1000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day throughout the winter season. 


5 Dietary Rules We Should All Live By

I felt I should mention diet since it is January and everyone is excited to get started on their new diet program or get back to their previous healthy eating.  As many of you know, when working with clients on weight loss, my approach involves creating long lasting changes that one can maintain over time.  5dietaryrules Losing weight is not just about a 12 week program, a diet pill or a one week cleanse but instead a change of lifestyle that includes reshaping your diet, your daily movement and your emotional issues.  Understanding yourself and "what you are hungry for" will bring insight to why you eat when you do and why you choose the foods that you do. 

The following five dietary rules are important to consider for all not just for weight loss but for optimal health.  If it seems too overwhelming, start with one at a time and move through the list as you feel comfortable.

1.  Replace all soda, both regular and diet with water, sparkling water, seltzer and herbal teas.  

2.  Transition the "white" foods from your diet.  Including white bread, white rice, and white sugar.  Instead of white bread, choose whole grain, sprouted grain, spelt, millet or rice bread.  Instead of white rice choose brown or wild rice or even quinoa.  White sugar can be replaced with stevia, a natural sweetener from plants, honey, brown rice syrup, and maple syrup.  

3.  Remove fast food from your diet completely.

4.  Cut out "trans fat" or "partially hydrogenated oil" from your diet.  These fats are known to increase your risk of coronary heart disease as well as decrease your HDL levels.  Healthier options would include olive oil and butter in moderation.

5.  Switch from fried foods to roasted, sauteed, baked or steamed.

In Health,

Alison 


What are your Intentions for the New Year

Happy New Year. 

January is always an exciting time for many people in that they feel it is a time to start fresh.  Having the holidays behind us, many people are anxious to get started or get back to healthy eating habits, exercise and routine.    Happynewyear

Instead of establishing New Year's Resolutions, I prefer to call them New Year's Intentions.  Setting intentions is an important activity.  I believe we each play a major role in creating our own reality.  Be specific with intentions and write them down in a journal.  Keep your journal in a place that is accessible, so that you may review as the year goes on.  Some people prefer to divide their intentions into categories, for example, personal, work, financial, relationships, etc. 

What do you intend to create for yourself in 2009?  Have fun and start the year with purpose.

Alison Finger, ND