From our colleagues at Klaire Labs
Nothing feels better in springtime than throwing open the windows and breathing in the fresh air, but that simple pleasure comes at a cost for millions of people. Nearly 30 percent of adults and 20 percent of children suffer from seasonal allergies, and symptoms can seriously hamper their routine (1).
Medications can provide temporary relief but targeting and supporting the immune system is a more effective and long-term approach (2). Recent research suggests the microbiome, the collection of microorganisms in our bodies, plays a vital role in regulating the immune system’s response to allergens. People who suffer from allergies often have a less diverse mix of gut microbes (3). Strategies that target the microbiome may help allergy sufferers breathe easier.
This article provides valuable tips for managing seasonal allergies by eliminating triggers and adopting diet and lifestyle changes that support a healthy microbiome.
1. Avoid Food Triggers: Certain foods like dairy, wheat, soy, and peanuts are linked to seasonal allergy symptoms. To alleviate allergies, avoid these foods and opt for antioxidant-rich options like colorful fruits and vegetables and omega-3 fatty acid sources such as salmon, chia seeds, and walnuts.
2. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is essential for beating seasonal allergies. Drinking plenty of water helps keep mucous membranes moist and clears allergens from the system. Herbal teas like chamomile, nettle, and ginger tea reduce inflammation and promote immune function. Green tea provides polyphenol antioxidants that support the microbiome. Aim for 8-10 glasses of water or unsweetened beverages daily.
3. Maintain a Tidy Home: Keeping a clean house reduces exposure to allergens. Regular cleaning minimizes pollen and dust in your environment. Consider using an air purifier for additional help with allergens. A dehumidifier helps reduce mold and mildew in humid climates.
4. Get Quality Sleep: A good night’s sleep benefits the immune system and overall health. Aim for a consistent sleep routine of 7-8 hours per night. Avoid electronic devices emitting blue light before bed, as they impair sleep.
5. Reduce Stress Load: Alleviating stress can ease seasonal allergy symptoms. Engage in daily activities like yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or relaxing in nature. Soothing music can also reduce tension.
6. Incorporate Prebiotic and Probiotic Foods: Including prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods in your diet supports a healthy gut microbiome, regulating the immune system’s response to allergens. Prebiotics like garlic, onions, asparagus, bananas, and oats feed beneficial gut bacteria. Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha restore gut bacteria balance.
7. Avoid Processed Foods and Sugar: Processed foods and sugar disrupt gut bacteria balance, leading to inflammation and immune dysregulation, worsening seasonal allergy symptoms. Avoid or limit foods with long ingredient lists and focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins instead.
8. Get Plenty of Fiber: Fiber is crucial for a healthy microbiome. Consuming fiber-rich foods promotes beneficial gut bacteria growth and reduces inflammation, alleviating allergy symptoms. Include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds in your diet.
Dealing with seasonal allergies is challenging, but diet and lifestyle changes can reduce their impact. The microbiome plays a significant role in regulating the immune response to allergens. Support a healthy microbiome and manage seasonal allergies naturally by following these tips.
Allergy Facts. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Updated March 2023. Accessed May 19, 2023. https://aafa.org/allergies/allergy-facts/
Zhou MS, Zhang B, et al. Microbial Pathogenesis. 2021 Dec 1;161:105272.
Watts AM, et al. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology. 2021;182(2):94-105.