Turn seasonal allergies and hay fever into spring fever with Functional Medicine
For some, spring is a time for colorful blossoms and fresh cut grass. It’s a time of rebirth and beauty. For most, however, it’s a time of misery. A time when seasonal allergies with itchy, watery eyes and stuffed up noses wreak havoc on life – day and night. For every inch of green on the ground, there is sure to be an equal amount of pollen in the air. While some may walk through it obliviously, most will suffer throughout the summer and even into the fall.
When those seasonal allergies attack, it might be easy to head to the store and stock an armory of over-the-counter medicine from every ad that’s come across your television screen. It might be easy to suppress the symptoms, but it’s only temporary. The sneezy, runny nose, the tickle in your throat, and all that congestion always comes back with a vengeance. While many believe that this is something they just have to live with, what most don’t know is that seasonal allergies are the symptoms of one root cause, something bigger.
Like an ailing tree, a gardener would never heal the disease one branch at a time. While he may look to the branches for clues, he would go to the root of the tree to heal it as a whole. So, how do you find the root cause of your ailment? Let me introduce you to a concept that most pharmaceutical companies wish you never heard: Functional Medicine.
Find the Root Cause
Symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong; they are a cry for help. By masking those cries with meds, you aren’t healing. All you’re really doing is prolonging your suffering. Functional Medicine nutritionists and doctors use those symptoms to find the root cause—the bigger picture—and eliminate it. Seasonal allergies are no exception.
Instead of chasing symptoms in circles, Functional Medicine addresses the underlying issues and discovers what your body needs as one integrated system. For example, a common culprit during allergy season is the gut. While this might seem hard to accept, think about how the gut directs the entire body. The gastrointestinal tract, the gut, runs as a hollow tube from the mouth to the stomach and down to the anus. Connecting the central nervous system, it is the second brain of the body—the command center for every organ. If it isn’t healthy, the body isn’t healthy, causing an overabundance of in convenient symptoms.
Increased intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut,” is a condition that occurs when the lining of the intestinal wall is overgrown with bad bacteria and weakens, becoming porous or “leaky.” This allows undigested foods, yeast, bacteria, and toxins into the otherwise sterile bloodstream. As a result, the immune system then launches an attack on those invaders, creating inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation that occurs from leaky gut can come in many forms: autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, heart disease, obesity, cholesterol, IBS, Diabetes, joint pain, skin conditions, fatigue, and yes, seasonal allergies.
For a head start on symptom relief, remember the foods that have been known to make allergies worse include wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. Some have even found that their symptoms have been reduced by simply removing gluten from their diet. While eliminating certain things from your diet is important, what you add is just as significant.
For allergy symptom relief and prevention, you’ll want to include foods that provide respiratory support, such as chicken or beef bone broth. Immune boosting foods, like apple cider vinegar, raw honey and cinnamon, are a nice addition to hot water or tea. For strong immune support and digestion, you’ll want to stock up on probiotic-rich foods, such as Greek yogurt and raw cheese. Of course, you can never go wrong with a few servings of fresh, organic vegetables throughout your day.
A Functional Medicine approach will heal your body as a whole, rather than camouflage each symptom by flooding your body with meds. Don’t know where to begin? Start with a call to Forum Health Clarkston, a Functional Medicine practice. Our staff is waiting to guide you with a customized nutrition plan. Remember, with the right tools and nourishment, your body has the natural ability to restore to its pre-symptom form. If you give it the right environment, it will heal itself.
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