With the weather changing, a lot of people are experiencing seasonal allergies. Unfortunately, many suggestions for naturally combatting allergies involve non-vegan substances like local honey or bee pollen. For vegans looking to reduce their allergic reactions, here are some tips.
Water and Steam
A lot of strategies for treating allergy symptoms involve water. For a direct, blunt approach, you can wash out your sinuses using a neti pot. This seems gross and potentially painful to some, but many people swear it relieves pressure in their sinuses. The idea here is pretty simple- you experience allergic reactions because of contaminants. Many of these contaminants are in your sinuses. Using a neti pot washes these contaminants out. Of course, this must be repeated whenever new contaminants enter your sinuses, which for many people may be daily.
If you’re not excited about dumping water into your sinuses, you have other options. One that is appealing not only for simplicity, but also for cost (it’s free!) is inhaling steam. Heat up water in a pot on your stove and inhale the steam. Breathing in the steam offers the same benefits as the neti pot but without liquid running down your nostrils, much like taking a hot shower helps congestion by breaking up mucous buildup in your sinuses. For extra benefits, you can add allergy-busting essential oils like lemon to your water. To keep steam from escaping, hold a towel around your head and lean in close over your pot. Make sure you’ve already turned the heat off, and make sure not to lean too close, as steam can cause third degree burns if you’re not careful!
Vaporizing water can help your home as well as your body! Humidifiers put tiny droplets of water in the air, which bind to allergens and other substances in the air. The water, being heavier than the air, then falls to the floor, dragging the contaminants with it! Just be sure not to over-humidify, as that can cause allergy problems related to mold and mildew!
Of course, your diet is important to keeping your immune system strong. Allergies are the result of an immune system malfunction, meaning your body sees non-harmful substances as threats and tries to expel them, resulting in sneezing, coughing, mucous production, and other allergic reactions. Adding probiotics to your diet or supplement plan can go a long way in fighting allergies. This is because the healthy bacteria in probiotics strengthen your immune system.
Apples and onions contain a natural antihistamine called quercetin. If antihistamine sounds familiar, it’s because it’s in every allergy medicine ever. Histamine build-up is one of the causes of allergic reactions, so antihistamines basically suppress histamine production in your body to reduce the effect of allergens. Walnuts and flaxseed are also useful allergy-fighting foods because they contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Drinking tea with stinging nettle leaf reduces inflammation, helping your body fight allergic reactions. Stinging nettle leaf also contains Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and Vitamin E, which are all great for your immune system. You can also get these vitamins and nutrients intravenously, which works a lot faster than dietary sources.
These are just a few ways that vegans can fight allergies at the source, your body. Of course, there are also ways to reduce your exposure to allergens, such as weatherizing your home and using air filters. Have you had luck in reducing allergic reactions? Share your experience in the comments!