Spring Delights – Issues and Tissues

Hello Spring! The skies are clear and so beautiful, the flowers dance in bloom.

For some of us it is the perfect time for frolicking in the gardens. For many others, it is the season to close the windows and carry the tissues.

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions in Australia, affecting three-million of us annually. Hay fever symptoms are typically an immune system reaction to grasses and pollen. It appears the immune system, perhaps mistakenly, determines these environmental elements as harmful for our health.

For the technically minded – this immune system response causes an antibody (Immunoglobulin E – IgE) to attach itself to the perceived offending grass or pollen and then the antibody attaches itself to a mast cell, which in turn releases histamine.

We may love the flowers but definitely not the histamine, as you are possibly well aware it causes inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages, excessive mucus, sneezing, nasal and throat itching, watery eyes, a runny nose and more.

However, before you reach for anti-histamine medications, there are foods, nutrients and herbs extremely beneficial for alleviating hay fever symptoms. If you are a hay fever sufferer, do tell our Naturopath when next at Gaia, they will suggest more solutions to protect you and keep symptoms at bay when spring comes around again.

Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain, an enzyme with strong systemic anti-inflammatory effects that help to decrease mucosal inflammation and nasal congestion.

Onions contains a flavonoid, quercetin, a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory anti-histamine. Eat red onions raw, toss into salads, sandwiches and cooked dishes. Quercetin is also in apples, kale, red grapes, berries, cherries and parsley. Stock up.

Licorice and Nettle teas
Studies show that Nettle Tea can help relieve inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and ease nasal congestion, sneezing and itching. Drinking Licorice Tea also has a soothing effect, helping to reduce respiratory irritation.

Horseradish and Garlic
Horseradish, think wasabi, also acts as a decongestant helping to clear nasal passages. Grated fresh horseradish root adds a lovely kick to roast meats and vegetables. Garlic helps clear nasal congestion, its potent antibacterial properties helping to prevent secondary respiratory infections in chronic suffers, it’s also a good source of quercetin.

Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria, 70% of our immune system is regulated by our own microflora, so repopulating our gut with beneficial bacteria helps to retrain our immune system not to react to harmless elements. Fermented foods are an excellent probiotic source, try sauerkraut and miso, or pickled sprouts and vegetables.

Avoid certain foods
Limit or avoid cow’s milk and dairy products, they can increase production of respiratory tract mucus and exacerbate nasal congestion. Try rice, almond, quinoa and coconut milks.

Take Advantage of Gaia’s Naturopathic Wisdom
Nutritional medicine is the foundational building block for good health. Nutrients are the driving force behind every physiological, mental and emotional function in your body. What you ingest today has a deep and profound impact on your future wellness.

Gaia’s Naturopaths are highly skilled. Both the Gaia Refresh (See here – www.gaiaretreat.com.au/packages/refresh-package)  and the Restore Retreat Packages (See here – www.gaiaretreat.com.au/packages/restore-package) include a complimentary comprehensive Naturopathic Assessment enabling you to take maximum advantage of Gaia’s naturopathic skills to identify underlying causative factors that inhibit your optimal health and wellbeing. Their expert recommendations help to achieve optimum health and wellbeing and avoid a histamine reaction next year.

Of course, you are always very welcome to attach a comprehensive Naturopathic Consultation to any Gaia package or stay.

With best wishes for your excellent health,

Shelea Neighbour
Gaia Head Naturopath