Allergy symptoms are basically a reaction from your immune system to a specific trigger that is treated as a foreign invader. Once the immune system labels something as a foreign invader it produces antibodies to attack it just as it does for a virus or bacteria. The antibodies locate the allergen in your body and inform blood cells to release histamine into the bloodstream. The releasing of histamine creates inflammation causing tissues around blood vessels to tighten and fluid to escape. The escaping fluid becomes the symptoms you experience such as a runny nose, itchy watery eyes, and sneezing.
Boosting Immune System
Having a healthy immune system is your best protection from the misery of allergy symptoms. By adding certain foods to your diet you can strengthen your immune system and help ward off future allergy attacks.
Probiotics, or the friendly bacteria in a healthy digestive system, also help keep the immune system strong since 80% of the immune system is actually in the gut. When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Research indicates that the levels of the good bacteria or probiotics that live in your gut can affect how much IgE your body produces, and how severe your allergy symptoms. Studies show that having a healthy population of acidophilus in your small intestine can reduce the amount of IgE that your body produces in response to ingesting allergens. Probiotics can be taken as supplements or can be found in foods such as yogurt, miso, raw sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and microalgae. Make sure when choosing probiotic foods such as yogurt that you get one with live and active cultures. Be sure when looking for a probiotic supplement that you choose one with a variety of bacteria and that requires refrigeration such as this full spectrum probiotic supplement. Taking an enzyme supplement between meals can support your body’s immune response because your body uses the extra enzymes to surround, break down and remove pollen grains from your system, reducing the amount of overreaction from your body’s immune system by creating an excess of histamine.
Your immune system needs vitamins A, C, D and E as well as omega-3 fatty acids and the minerals selenium, zinc, and magnesium to stay healthy. Whole foods with lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables are the best ways to get a variety of these nutrients. More specifically, nutritional therapist Nina Omotoso recommends pumpkin seeds for zinc which is vital for the immune system as it supports the thymus gland which controls the immune system. For magnesium, food such as spinach, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, bran, peas, beans, peanuts, lentils bananas, figs, almonds and halibut are great food sources. Vitamin C is especially important for the immune system and can be obtained by eating citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, bell peppers and dark green veggies. Broccoli is a good choice since it not only has vitamin C but also A and E. Vitamin C is known to boost white blood cell production to help fight off infections. The body doesn’t produce vitamin C itself though so you have to get it from foods or supplements.
There are a variety of other nutrients from foods that can help boost immune system function. Adding onions, garlic, ginger, black peppercorn, cayenne pepper, allspice, curry, and turmeric when preparing meals can help make the immune system stronger. Beta carotene and other carotenoid compounds such as found in AFA bluegreen algae give an immune system boost by protecting the thymus gland and providing antioxidant protection for immune cells according to chemistry professor Karl Abrams. Once the body converts beta carotene to vitamin A it helps white blood cells kill off invading viruses better, increases B-cell activity and antibody production such as IgA. Add astragulus, beta glucan and wild medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei to the powerful immune supporting nutrition found in AFA such as in this algae mushroom supplement and you have even more immune boosting nutrition on your side when fighting allergy symptoms. Or you can choose to supplement with this algae and mushroom combination containing reishi, maitake, cordyceps, wild black trumpet, and Poria cocos mushrooms.
You don’t have to be at the mercy of your allergies. There are ways to help reduce or eliminate your allergy symptoms nutritionally. Not only will boosting your immune system help with allergies now, but once cold and flu season come around you’ll be better prepared to fight those off. Start working now on improving your immune system to have it working for you all year round whenever you need it.
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Bruno, PhD, Jeffrey, Eat Light & Feel Bright: Microalgae Solutions for Individual and Planetary Health