Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Are you sniffing, sneezing and constantly rubbing your eyes? Do you stay inside when you see that yellow haze floating around?
Well, here is an interesting thought. Maybe this too can be linked to your dietary habits.
Now, I am going to use a personal, close-to-home example here, because let’s face it, that’s where most of my questions, thoughts and theories root.
As long as I have been with my husband, almost 20 years, I have known him to get miserable in the spring and have severe eczema.
The contacts get put away, glasses get put on, and he is constantly cleaning his eyes with cold water, sneezing 20 times in a row (with me asking him to pull the car over so we don’t get in an accident!).
But this year, I noticed a change. There was no complaining, very little sneezing, a lot less scratching, and no glasses.
So I started to think about this and do some research.
The only thing that has changed in the last 12 months is the huge change to his diet. He stays away from most grains (especially wheat), avoids sugar, has reduced his consumption of red wine and eats no processed or fast foods.
He has also added lots of nuts, seeds, grass-fed beef, wild game, fish, fish oils, organic cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Though there is not a lot of research out there yet, his health response seems to be quite common.
The general thought is that all of the processed, genetically modified, hormone filled foods that we are consuming, especially in North America, is causing huge inflammation in our bodies.
When the body is trying to fight this inflammation caused by “healthy” peanuts and grains you are trying to consume, it cannot fight the influx of pollen you are breathing up your nose.
Another working theory is known as “leaky gut syndrome”.
“Approximately 70–80 per cent of our immune system resides in our gut,” writes Nora Gedgaudas in her book Primal Body, Primal Mind.
Factors like diet, stress, alcohol and infection can render the thick mucosal layer vulnerable to further inflammation and irritation.
When you suffer from increased intestinal permeability, undigested food particles, pathogens, toxins, and other harmful substances are able to actually pass through your intestinal lining and directly enter the bloodstream.
All of these substances are considered foreign invaders to the body, which prompts your immune system to respond and combat the invaders.
Every time you eat an offending food, even a food that is considered “nutritious,” an immune system response will occur.
Initially, your immune system does its job and fights off the foreign invaders. But after battling for a long time without rest, it becomes overstressed and either overactive or non-reactive.
Over-activity of the immune system prompts it to react erratically to anything it comes into contact with. This includes all the pollen, mold, and other allergens that are always in the air.
It is because your immune system is too busy defending you from your own leaky gut that it doesn’t have the time or ability to properly deal with these allergens.
“Leaky gut” has been linked not only to allergies, but autoimmune diseases, autism and mental disorders.
In addition, when the gut is damaged, our brains often do not receive the signal that we are full. This leads to cravings of more refined grains and sugars – the very foods that lead to gut destruction.
In addition to changing your diet for the long term you can also go down to Shipyards Park on Thursdays and purchase some local honey. Use it once or twice a week in your green tea over the winter and this will help you next spring for local pollen allergies.
Try adding turmeric to your dishes, as it has been shown to improve intestinal integrity. Supplements like cod liver oil, bcaa (branch chain amino acids) and l-glutamine can heal the gut lining.
So, keep in mind these dietary changes and next year make a note of how your allergies have changed.
This column is provided by Peak Fitness. Mrs. Lee Randell is an ACE certified personal trainer. Contact information and past articles are available at www.peakfitnessyukon.com. Anyone who wants to begin an exercise program should consult their physician first.
This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.