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Beat those allergies

Trees are blooming and the sun is shedding more rays - finally, spring is upon us. But for many of us, spring also means allergies: runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing and more. Luckily there are steps you can take to keep your allergies from getting you down this year.

  • Natural supplements: Natural supplements boost your immune system and reduce the need for common over-the-counter allergy medications, such as anti-histamines and decongestants.
  • Vitamin C: The most common complaints during allergy season, such as watery eyes, sniffing, itchy throat and sneezing, are caused by one bad guy - histamine. Histamine is a natural chemical produced by the body's immune system that causes the symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as the red, itchy bump after a mosquito bite. Vitamin C is histamine's natural foe because it prevents its formation. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is safe even at high doses. I recommend 2,000 to 4,000 milligrams per day for optimal immune support.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics are "good" bacteria that live in our guts. Taking a broad-spectrum probiotic supplement, which contains 10 to 15 billion cells per capsule, can increase your immunity and decrease the likelihood of experiencing allergy symptoms. Research has also shown that children who take probiotic supplements are less prone to developing allergies later in life. It's best to take probiotic supplements daily, either before bed or first thing in the morning on empty stomach.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are fats commonly found in oils from marine animals and plants, such as salmon and flaxseed. They have been shown to support good health in a variety of ways. They can also help you beat allergy symptoms! Omega-3s reduce inflammation in your sinuses and strengthen your immune system so that your body is ready to fight off allergens more effectively. When choosing omega-3 fatty acid supplements, I recommend ones that come from plants or algae to avoid possible risks associated with some fish.
  • Saline nasal spray: Saline nasal spray is a dilute solution of salt and water that soothes and cleanses. Daily rinsing can prevent the allergens from building up in your nasal cavities and trapping bacteria, which can cause further illness. It also reduces uncomfortable nasal inflammation. I recommend starting daily saline nasal rinsing before allergy season for best results. You can also use saline spray for a dry nose or thick mucus.
  • Drink up: Staying hydrated can do a lot to relieve allergy symptoms. Dehydration triggers the body to release histamine (the bad guy, remember him?). Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water everyday is an easy, healthy way to feel better during allergy season. Antioxidant-rich green tea is another good option. I recommend drinking one or two cups of green tea daily for best results.