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Allergies: a reflection of your health

Allergies: a reflection of your health

Allergies, also called hypersensitivity reactions, are exaggerated responses by the immune system (our body’s defences) when it comes into contact with certain substances, called allergens.

It is estimated that 20 percent of the population is allergic to some substance (pollen, dust, animal hair, food, chemicals).

In recent years the number of people suffering from both food and spring allergies, called hay fever, has increased significantly. This is due to increased exposure to environmental toxins, increasingly contaminated food and also because chemical substances (dyes, preservatives, sweeteners, flavour enhancers, etc.) are added to processed foods that cause allergic reactions in so many people.

Although the symptoms are uncomfortable, allergies are generally not considered a serious problem, but they can lead to more complex conditions, such as asthma. In fact, it is estimated that most asthmatics have, to a lesser or greater degree, an allergic basis, especially to certain foods. Stress is also a trigger for asthma attacks.

It is suspected that there is an inherited predisposition to allergies, which means that a child whose parents or only the mother are allergic is likely to develop some sensitivity, although not necessarily to the same substance that his or her parents reject.

With the arrival of spring, which in itself is an explosion of nature, some respiratory allergies become more acute. The most common symptoms are: runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, difficulty breathing or the feeling of being permanently congested. This is due to pollination of trees, plants and shrubs containing the allergens, which are the cause of the most common allergic disorders. It is true that this excess pollen or dust can cause us some sensitivity, but it also depends on how our body is doing so that it affects us a lot, little or not at all.

Once again, the key to the problem lies in our immune system, as it is overreacting to substances that are theoretically harmless. Environmental pollution, stress, the abuse of antibiotics and synthetic anti-inflammatories or the excess of dairy products in our diet are responsible for its weakening.

Spring is also the time of year when our liver takes advantage of it to purify and eliminate the toxins of the entire winter. If we add to that extra work the histamines that the immune system makes in an allergy, all of this will cause the annoying symptoms that are nothing more than an attempt to decongest.

The first step in alleviating allergic symptoms is to detoxify our bodies to eliminate the excess toxins that are harming us. This can be achieved with a short fast (one day a week) or by using the purifying plants (milk thistle, artichoke, boldo, etc.) controlled at all times by a health professional. During the detoxification process it is essential not to smoke or ingest alcohol.

The benefit of a fast is enormous:

– the body is freed from damaged, sick and dead cells, and the formation of new, healthy cells is accelerated

– masses of waste and toxins are removed and therefore the appearance of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes is improved

– greatly increases the capacity of the lungs, liver, kidneys and skin

– the overloading of the digestive system is relieved, facilitating the elimination of toxins

– produces normalizing, stabilizing and also rejuvenating effects on physiological and mental functions

After fasting, we must opt, as far as possible, for an ecological, healthy and balanced diet, and be very careful not to eat any transgenic (genetically manipulated) food. The main source of protein should be of vegetable origin, not animal. Another important measure is to minimize the use of dairy products, thus reducing the excessive production of mucus, so evident in allergic conditions. If we want to drink dairy products, we should make sure that they are fermented (kefir, yoghurt, cheese) and in minimal quantities.

The next step would be to take care of our diet. We must take great care to follow the right diet, which must be based above all on:

– vegetables and green leafy vegetables for their antioxidant effect: spinach, chard, broccoli, lettuce

– citrus fruits, berries, blueberries, blackberries, red grapes, all rich in bioflavonoids, antioxidants, vitamins C and A

– green tea, a powerful antioxidant

– oily fish, because of its omega-3 content with anti-inflammatory effect

– legumes, nuts and whole grains, rich in magnesium and the B vitamins

– fermented foods: sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, to improve our bacterial flora

– buckwheat, beans and peas – rich in manganese. People who suffer from allergies have a significant deficit of this nutrient.

On the contrary, we should avoid eating foods that increase inflammation and therefore worsen allergic symptoms:

– red meat, sausages

– fried foods, hydrogenated fats

– chocolate, refined sugar

– refined cereals, especially wheat

– all products containing pollen (honey, royal jelly)

– coffee, tea, caffeinated beverages

Some vitamin and mineral supplements can also be very helpful in significantly reducing bothersome allergy symptoms:

– Vitamin C – great antioxidant power, fights the effects of free radicals, also neutralizes histamine and stimulates the immune system.

– Beta-carotene – is transformed in the organism into vitamin A, which protects and repairs the respiratory membranes, damaged by allergy

– Manganese – decreases histamine secretion

– Magnesium – relaxes the bronchial musculature, so it improves lung ventilation

– Quercetin – a powerful flavonoid, which stabilizes the cells of the immune system that release histamine

Medicinal plants are another alternative to conventional antihistamines in the treatment of allergies. They are rich in flavonoids and essential oils, and effectively combat the development of allergic processes. Among them:

– Blackcurrant – mainly has diuretic, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties. It is described as a natural cortisone, but without its side effects

– Nettle – primarily a blood purifier and diuretic. An excellent remedy against mucus in the airways and lungs, so present in allergic conditions

– Llantén – among other properties it stands out for its antibacterial, expectorant, soothing, decongesting effect, it is a real tonic for respiratory conditions

– Thyme and eucalyptus – rich in essential oils with expectorant effect are considered a powerful mucolytic that fluidizes the pulmonary secretions for later expulsion

Finally, it is also important to mention the recommended use of nasal washes with seawater or saline prepared by us, boiling mineral water with sea salt and bicarbonate. It will help us to eliminate much of the mucus, and therefore to breathe better.

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