Help with Hay Fever

Depositphotos_13151097_s-2015.jpg

With "the fluff" otherwise known as the prolific flowers of the Populous alba tree flying though Canberra’s air, students minds might turn to university exams and hay fever sufferers minds turn to sneezing, watering eyes and fatigue.
 

Why Do You Get Hay Fever?

If your hay fever is seasonal, then it is caused by your immune systems over-enthusiastic response to what are normally benign substances like pollens, grasses and flowers. In spring, prolific quantities of these minute particles float though the air and into the delicate mucous membranes of your sinuses where they meet the defenses of your immune system.
One of the basic defenses of your immune system is to flush out offending substances with tears and mucous, the bigger the immune reaction, the more copious the streaming eyes and mucous discharge.

Why Doesn’t Everyone React The Same Way?

If you don’t get hay fever then it just means your immune system is not over-reacting to environmental triggers…lucky you!

How Do You Switch Off The Hayfever Response?

Many people choose to mask the symptoms of hay fever with drugs which work by suppressing the immune systems response, drying up secretions and masking pain signals.

However, for a more holistic solution that doesn’t just mask the symptoms you need to do two simple things:

De-stress

Stress is the difference between your immune system reacting calmly or over-reacting to triggers in the environment. Hay fever is usually a good indicator that your stress levels are too high and need some attention.

Try leaving work on-time, go to a regular Yoga or gym class, learn to meditate or take up a hobby. If you know your stress levels are really high then seek professional support.

Detox

The other area of your body calling out for support when you have hay fever is your liver. Hay fever essentially alerts you that your liver is over-burdened.

Simple ways to support your liver include to cutting out alcohol and processed foods. Try eating a more whole food based diet including lots of veges, whole grains and legumes and reduce meat and dairy.

If you address hay fever in a holistic way, the chances are you’ll beat the symptoms and feel more energized, sleep better and enjoy life more.

Signs you may have food intolerance

Discovering a food intolerance or sensitivity can be a confusing process. Often, the symptoms are mistaken for simply not feeling well. Research shows it can be years before possible food intolerance is explored. We don’t like to hear that we need to cut something out of our diet, consequently food intolerances can be ignored. On the flip-side, some people are cutting out many foods they could otherwise be enjoying, unsure of what’s causing them discomfort.

The difference between food intolerance and allergy

Firstly, let’s be clear about what the difference is between a food intolerance and a food allergy. Where there is a food allergy, an abnormal immune system response prompts the body to make antibodies to 'fight off' a food. The response is usually quite sudden and intense, including symptoms such as:

●      itchy skin

●      rashes or hives

●      swelling

●      vomiting

●      shortness of breath

●      chest pain, and

●      a drop in blood pressure.

Anaphylaxis is a combination of the above symptoms — it’s life threatening and must be treated immediately. Allergies will cause an immune system response every time a person eats the allergen which is most commonly: gluten, peanuts or tree nuts, fish or shellfish, milk, eggs or soy.

Food intolerance or sensitivity is a much slower process within the body; it comes on gradually. Your body may not respond well to a substance only once it’s eaten often or in large amounts. For example, you might tolerate low levels of wheat throughout the week, or you’re able to eat a pizza when you’re relaxed and well. However, once there is a build-up of wheat in your system you start to see and feel your symptoms.

Here’s the KEY to managing intolerances: Your overall health and well-being will have a big impact on how your body handles substances that it’s sensitive to. I’ll discuss this further at the end of the article!

Signs of a food intolerance

Signs that you may have a food intolerance can be both physical and emotional. This is mainly due to the link between gut health and the brain. A food intolerance may cause one or many of the common symptoms below:

●      nausea

●      bloating, gas, cramps

●      diarrhea and/or constipation

●      Irritable Bowel Syndrome

●      stomach pain

●      joint pain

●      vomiting

●      heartburn

●      candida / thrush

●      skin rash

●      headaches

●      weight gain or weight loss

●      lethargy, feeling flat

●      irritability

●      anxiousness.

Why am I intolerant to certain foods?

There is much debate and research into what’s causing the rise in food intolerance. One recurring theme is the move away from natural and organically farmed foods to processed, artificially treated and preserved foods, as well as the many artificial additives for colouring and flavour. Many of these additives have not been tested enough to know the full effect they have on our health. Shockingly, some additives that are known to cause damage are still being used. This varies from country to country as to what chemicals are allowed to be in our food.

As an example, this image from Grainstorm.com shows how modern wheat is processed: starting as an ancient whole grain and ending up stripped of its nutrients into white flour form.

Another possibility to consider are enzymes. Lactose (the sugar in milk) is one of the most common intolerances and is due to an enzyme deficiency or defect. Enzymes are needed by the body to help with the breakdown of natural substances found in certain foods. Without the relevant enzyme, or not enough of it, the body cannot deal with part of the food. In this instance, the enzyme ‘lactase’ is needed to digest and absorb lactose. You might experience cramping, bloating, diarrhoea and lethargy as your gut struggles with breaking down the lactose without lactase.

It’s not always artificial chemicals and toxins that can cause an intolerance. While it’s extremely important that we strive to clear these damaging ingredients from our food sources, some people are intolerant to natural food chemicals such as amines found in cheese, chocolate and wine (“nooooo!”) and salicylates found in certain fruits and vegetables. This is why some people struggle to identify the source of discomfort as it can be something ‘healthy’.

What do I do next?

Mind-body medicine and a holistic approach to your health means that by checking in with your gut health and what foods may be compromising your health and well-being, a positive ripple effect will occur across your physical, emotional and mental health.

You body has many mechanisms to talk to you and let you know that there’s a problem. Listening to and observing your body after you eat and keeping a food journal is a great way to track and identify patterns of an imbalance.

If you suspect something might be upsetting you, cut it out completely for two weeks and re-introduce it to see how you feel. Your body will need some time to balance and heal which is why you need sometime without the substance.

And finally — get some help. There are many ways to use food as medicine to support health and well-being and get your body back on track. Don’t put yourself through an elimination diet without professional guidance from a naturopath, nutritionist or dietician.

Special Offer!

To help you discover what substances you may be intolerant to, I’m offering 15 minute kinesiology food intolerance testing for only $30. Let’s start the process and give you an opportunity to ask your body where stress lies with food. This offer will be available until Thursday 26th May! Call now on 6295 0400 to book your spot. Don’t miss out!

I will leave you with food for thought: food intolerances are not a life sentence — by working to heal your body, improve your physiology, treat any other underlying causes or connections. and find balance emotionally and mentally, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to once again enjoy a glass of wine or a piece of cheese.  Kate

Kate's passion is to educate and empower each client to understand their mind, body, and Spirit and how these aspects are all connected. Her integrative approach to health and healing is to explore and treat the whole person. Kate is the creator of Holistic by Nature and is also on the expert panel of I Quit Sugar.
To find out more about Kinesiology please click here.

Learn more about Kate

Make an appointment to see Kate