Your Immune System and Seasonal Allergies
"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."Helen Keller
I have had seasonal allergies since I was twelve or thirteen years old. For months in the springtime, I locked myself inside the house and turned to drugs and steroids that harmed my immune system. This seemed to be what everybody did and I did the same because I had nowhere else to look.
After I discovered the power that cultured foods held for me, I went on a search-and-destroy mission to fix and heal these springtime allergies that made me feel like the world was coming to an end. It took me seven or eight years to work with my body to understand what was actually happening. The process of healing was a long one because there was much to learn and I continue to do so. Food is powerful medicine and learning to harness its power is really important and especially if you're struggling with allergies of any kind. Knowledge is key and there are special foods that can help you, but first let's start with your body's reaction to pollen.
Your Immune System And Allergies
When your body has a reaction to pollen, your body sees pollen as a foreign invader and then overreacts by sending out inflammatory substances to compensate. Allergic symptoms are often nothing more than the body’s reaction to stress. The cells in our bodies have previously learned how to successfully cope with whatever stresses we presently have. It is already built into our genes, chromosomes, and DNA. This is basically an immune response and to address the problem you need to understand why the immune system is overreacting.
Grandfather of Allergy
One of Britain's most famous physicians, Dr. Bill Frankland, lived to be 108 years old and has been dubbed the “Grandfather of Allergy.” He is best known for inventing the pollen count and getting the news media to report it locally. Frankland discovered that an allergic reaction is due to a malfunctioning immune system. This discovery has helped many in the treatment of allergies. His life reads like a novel. He was in the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1941 and was sent to Singapore just seven days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. A year later, he was sent to the notorious Changi POW camp where he suffered as a prisoner for 3 1/2 years before he was set free. In 1979, he cared for the leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. “I got a call to see the new president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. They told me he had an allergy and he was being treated with various desensitizing injections,” Dr. Frankland told the Daily Mail. “But he wasn’t allergic at all — his problem was that he was smoking 40 cigarettes a day.” Dr. Frankland told Hussein if he wouldn't quit smoking he wouldn't work with him anymore. Three and a half months later he was dramatically better, and because he was so grateful, he was invited back to Baghdad with his family to have lunch with him.” He added, “I heard some time later that he had had a disagreement with his secretary of state for health, so he took him outside and shot him. Maybe I was lucky.”
Whole Food Vitamin C
I have learned a lot about my immune system's response to pollen. My research in this area is ongoing and has me constantly amazed at how our bodies talk and communicate with us. When my adrenal glands are overworked and exhausted by the stress of life, I've discovered ways to support them and then I begin to heal. One thing I have learned is how vitamin C trains our immune system to function properly. Vitamins B and C are both water-soluble which means they dissolve in water, and these vitamins and nutrients dissolve quickly in the body. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body’s tissues, but the body cannot store them. When you're under stress and your body is reacting to pollen, your adrenals will use up these vitamins quickly and cry for more! You need vitamin C and lots of it throughout the day when you're struggling with pollen. Not just any kind of vitamin C, but whole foods that have lots of vitamin C. If you supplement with vitamin C tablets and don't take it in a natural form, it can be hard on the kidneys, so I caution against this. One of the ways to accomplish this is to eat cultured foods - especially cultured vegetables. High in vitamin C, I have cultured veggies as a snack, with meals, or by themselves throughout the day to keep my hungry adrenals healthy and fed. Kefir has vitamin C as well as B vitamins which are also nutrients needed by your adrenals. I have lots of extra options and fun ways to get extra vitamin C — see recipes below.
OJ In Stores Is Not Real!
Another thing I do to get more vitamin C is to eat oranges or lemons, or I make some fresh-squeezed juices. Don’t use canned or store-bought because it’s not the same thing. The manufacturers squeeze the juice from the oranges and store it in big vats, and then they start to remove the oxygen because this allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling. This also takes out the flavor of the oranges, so in order for it to taste like orange juice again, they hire flavor and fragrance companies to make flavor packs to make it taste like orange juice again. The flavor packs aren't listed in the ingredients because they're technically derived from "orange essence and oil." My husband could never drink orange juice because it always gave him terrible indigestion. That was until we got our own orange tree and, lo and behold, freshly squeezed OJ doesn't bother him at all. That's because it's the real deal and the stuff in stores isn't.
I love to have a small glass of fresh-squeezed OJ for breakfast or a bowl of kefir with cut up oranges or lemons. For lunch, I’ll often make some lemonade from a few lemons, monk fruit, and water and sip on it throughout the day. Local honey to sweeten your lemonade will often help with allergies as well.
Your Cells Think Sugar Is Vitamin C
If you have pollen allergies, one of the things I want to teach you is to ditch sugar. It will make your allergies a thousand times worse and diminish your immune system as well. Vitamin C is used by white blood cells to engulf and absorb viruses and harmful bacteria and keep your immune system strong when it thinks it’s under attack from things such as pollen. White blood cells need to contain 50 times the concentration of vitamin C as would normally be found in the blood around it. Sugar or glucose has a very similar chemical structure to vitamin C; so when you eat sugar, your cells hungrily take in the sugar thinking it is vitamin C. The 50% concentration of vitamin C in your cells starts to drop and your immune system’s normal capabilities are reduced by 75%. It can take four to six hours for the vitamin C concentration in the white blood cells to go back to the normal concentration and to be able to function at the highest level again. So it’s not a great idea to eat any kind of sugar, and especially if you’re suffering from seasonal allergies because the white blood cells can’t get past the sugar to do their job.
Orange Juice Is Powerful Medicine
I am lucky enough to have many fruit trees on my property and an interesting thing happens every spring. When those trees start blooming, I start to get a runny nose and I feel allergy symptoms start. My whole property smells like citrus fruit from the blooms, and bees and pollen are everywhere. (I love those bees, 🐝 we're friends now.) But the surprising remedy to my symptoms is to eat an orange or its juice and within an hour all symptoms are gone.
From his great book, The Immunity Code, Joel Greene says that "Fresh squeezed orange juice contains a flavonoid called hesperetin. Hesperetin helps to raise blood levels of key phenols (the color pigments in orange juice). These special phenols lower inflammation, and reduce DNA damage, improve your cholesterol, and many other beneficial things like helping improve memory. Not only that, hesperetin is one of the most powerful natural defenses to fight highly virulent viruses like H1N1 and Covid-19. It suppresses numerous mechanisms needed for these types of viruses to proliferate.  Experiments comparing hesperetin to whole orange juice have shown administering hesperetin alone does not raise blood serum levels of phenols the way whole orange juice does."
Healthy Gut Flora and B Vitamins
Another key component in keeping your immune system running strong is to supply your adrenals with not only vitamin C, but B vitamins as well. Healthy gut flora will synthesize B vitamins, enzymes, and proteins so that we are never depleted. When the gut flora is out of balance, this production is impaired and you won’t be able to properly absorb B vitamins. It is crucial to be aware of the importance of probiotics in your diet to help repopulate healthy gut flora allowing you to get all the key vitamins your body needs. B and C vitamins are abundant in cultured foods – kefir, cultured veggies, and kombucha. In contrast, processed foods and sugars deplete B and C vitamins and spike insulin in a dramatic way, adversely affecting your adrenal glands.
I noticed when I first started eating cultured foods that my allergy symptoms were greatly reduced, but they did not go away completely. Each year that I ate these foods, I noticed that the time I had my allergies was shortened – by about one week each year. What started out as two to three months of symptoms eventually was only three to five days of symptoms. This was a huge improvement, but I still needed to add extra vitamins and cultured foods during allergy season to keep everything running smoothly.
Ginger Apple Shots for Allergies
I work hard to keep allergies at bay, but if ever I have a flare up I do a ginger shot! I learned this from “The Juice Master,” Jason Vale, who claimed he got rid of his severe hay fever with ginger shots. I tried it and it worked for me too! The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger work with your immune system to reduce a histamine response. Try the ginger shot recipe below if you need results fast. It works!
Don’t Bring Back Symptoms
Eating processed foods or sugar and neglecting to nourish my adrenals will bring back symptoms and this reminds me to stay the course. Taking walks outside and smelling the flowers is something I am very grateful for. Nothing is impossible and I found answers to this forty-year seasonal ailment that now allow me to go outside and not be a prisoner in my own home.
Below are a few of my springtime allergy prescription recipes. These are the foods I consume that keep me strong, especially in the springtime. Don’t you just love food and the body and how they work together? We need each other, we need food that nourishes the body, and we need to listen to this body that gives us constant feedback on how we’re doing. It’s the sweetest way to live your life.
Pick foods that your body will love and you will shine from within.🌞
Here are some cultured recipes for allergy season
Listen To My Podcast
The process of healing from seasonal allergies was a long process for me because there was much to learn and I continue to do so. Food is powerful medicine and learning to harness its power is really important and especially if you're struggling with allergies of any kind. Knowledge is key and there are special foods that can help you, but first let's start with your body's reaction to pollen. Tune in to listen.
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