Relieve Allergies the Natural Way
If spring and fall send your seasonal allergies into a spin, many experts say look to Mother Nature for relief that can be as comforting and easy as a day at the beach. Whether it's the long-awaited change of winter into spring, or the quiet fading of summer into fall, for many folks the changing of the seasons means more than just vacation plans and a new wardrobe -- it signals the start of seasonal allergies. Sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery, red eyes -- these are just some of the symptoms that more than 35 million Americans face each year as the pollen from trees, grass, flowers, and plants makes it way into the air.
Turning the focus from the medicine chest to the kitchen cabinet, you might want to try cooking up some allergy relief in the form of hot, spicy foods. The reason: Experts say the spicier the dish, the more likely it is to thin mucous secretions, which in turn can clear nasal passages. Among the most frequently recommended spices for this purpose include cayenne pepper, hot ginger, and fenugreek, as well as the traditional onion and garlic.
Interestingly, what you don't eat may be even more important than what you do eat. The reason, according to Hardy, is that food intolerance may be far more intimately entwined with seasonal allergies than we realize.
"You have to really look at your diet and cut out any foods that seem to provoke even a mild sensitivity, such as occasional hives or even stomach upset, " says Hardy. In doing so, she says, you can literally lighten the burden on your immune system, which in turn may help reduce the impact of seasonal allergic reactions.