Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies + Spiced Granola!

5 Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

I didn't suffer from seasonal allergies until I moved to New York city.  As you can expect, I am not a fan.  Thankfully my allergies have been fairly mild; nothing more than a few sneezes, a pesky runny nose and eyes that start to itch at night.  Still, relief is much desired and not from a pill.  Last year I found relief in a fantastic herb; and this year I'm going even more in-depth in my pursuit of natural remedies for seasonal allergies.  Why choose a natural remedy when you can easily pick up a box of Zyrtec at the drugstore?  Natural remedies don't just cover up the problem, but many work to strengthen our body's defense before the pollen attack begins.  On top of that, these natural remedies come side effect free; that means no drowsiness!

1. Stay extra hydrated!
With Spring comes warmer weather, longer days, pretty flowers and pesky pollen.  Spring also brings rain showers, let them be a reminder to shower your insides with a lot of filtered water!  Staying hydrated is essential for relieving seasonal allergies. Believe it or not, the majority of us are dehydrated and suffer from the ill effects of this condition. In a healthy and properly hydrated system histamine is produced to defend the body when there is a foreign invasion of a virus, bacteria or pollen.  By making you sneeze and initiating a runny nose, the histamine is able to expel the invader from the body. When we are dehydrated our bodies produce too much histamine, and allergic reactions are triggered unnecessarily.  Drink plenty of filtered water to stay hydrated, and to keep your bodily functions balanced.  Squeeze fresh lemon juice into your water for some allergy fighting Vitamin C.

2. The Magic of Bee Pollen 
Though it's not exactly vegan, I'm a big fan of local bee pollen for it's incredible healing properties. You know that dusty stuff you see on flowers, the pollen? There are two types of pollen: one that is blown by the wind and is responsible for seasonal allergies, and another that is collected by honey bees, then synthesized to create the delicious granules we call bee pollen. Bee pollen is Nature's multivitamin. It contains all 22 of the essential amino acids and is 25% protein. It also contains over a dozen vitamins and over two dozen minerals; even 11 enzymes and fatty acids. Bee pollen is high in quercetin, a flavanoid found in many foods and known for its ability to lower the bodies histamine response. That means less sneezing and fewer runny noses. 

Local bee pollen works best. It acts as a natural vaccine against airborne pollen, by building up your body's defense. Look for bee pollen with the widest variety of color; this indicates that the pollen has been taken from a wide variety of flowers. It is recommended to start taking bee pollen at least a month before allergy season strikes, so that you'll have time to build up your defenses. Start with a small dose, 1 teaspoon per day, then work your way up to a maximum 1 tablespoon a day. It's delicious and goes well in smoothies and with granola. Check out the recipe below! 

Why do I recommend bee pollen if it isn't vegan? As you might've heard, decline in bee populations has become a very serious issue. Beekeepers help to fight this colony collapse by keeping bees; at an industrialized scale, the factory-farming of honey, pollen, and other bee byproducts has its own issues. That's part of why I favor local beekeeping. Leave me a comment letting me know your approach to this issue. It can be a tricky subject!

3. Brave the Stinging Nettle
When you rub up against a Stinging Nettle plant it's going to hurt!  Despite it's terrible sting, Stinging Nettle does have a nice side.  This herb was the first natural remedy I tried to cure my own allergies; so I can attest to it's effectiveness.  Stinging Nettle acts as a natural antihistamine to alleviate allergy symptoms, especially runny nose and sneezing.  It can be taken as a tea, a tincture or in pill form. The most widely recommended is Stinging Nettle tea that has been brewed for a long time.  Look for the tea at health food stores.  Alternatively, the tincture is a great option and easier to travel with.  Add a dropper full of tincture to a glass of water and sip it down; Maxx thinks it tastes like herbal tea : ) 

4. Make it Hot!
This has got to be the tastiest way to combat seasonal allergies.  By adding some spice to your food this allergy season you can alleviate congestion. Spicy foods will thin mucous secretions and clear nasal passages. If you've ever eaten wasabi or too much cayenne pepper,  you'll know what I'm talking about. This allergy season, spice up your food with cayenne pepper, ginger, fenugreek, wasabi, and spicy condiments.  Curry, chili, and spicy salsa will all help you kick your congestion.

5. Pass the Omega-3 
Yes, the much talked about Omega-3 fatty acid can even be helpful for relieving seasonal allergies by strengthening the immune system and lowering the body's histamine response to allergens.  Omega-3 is a fatty acid essential to human health.  Our bodies do not produce Omega-3, so we must attain the proper amount from food or supplements.  Omega-3 fatty acid works as an anti-inflammatory agent, thus reducing inflammation in the sinuses caused by histamine response, a.k.a allergic reactions.  It also boosts the immune system, giving your body the extra strength it needs to fight allergens and ward off infection. Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acid include fish (salmon, halibut, and tuna), walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds.  As a vegan, it is important to eat a diet in which this healthy fat is present.  I make sure to eat plenty of walnuts, chia seeds and flax seed oil; all delicious, healthy and safe sources of allergy beneficial Omega-3 fatty acid.  Replace olive oil with flax seed oil in salad dressings, and eat walnuts everyday!  

Start your day off strong with a few glasses of water with lemon and this super allergy fighting granola which combines bee pollen, cayenne pepper, and walnuts.  Plus it's gluten free and 100% raw! 

Spiced Granola
(makes 2 servings. Allergy fighters are in bold.)
1 cup buckwheat (soaked, sprouted and dried)
1/2 cup coconut shreds
1/2 cup walnuts (OMEGA-3)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (OMEGA-3)
1-2 tablespoons bee pollen (NATURAL VACCINE, QUERCETIN, AND VITAMINS)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (DECONGESTANT AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (ANTI-INFLAMMATORY)
1/4 cup raisins
dash of salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
 Mix all ingredients together.  Eat as is, or with non-dairy milk or yogurt : )

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