Allergies: A Holistic Overview
Allergies plague millions of Americans every year. The causes and types of allergies are too numerous to address in this brief article; however, there are some concepts I would like for you to consider.
First, the human bodily reaction to external pathogens are complex and varied and can occur in almost any part of the body. Many times, when our bodies react in a way that we don’t understand, we dismiss it as something minor or something with which we feel familiar. Many of these obscure yet prevalent symptoms can relate to an allergic reaction we are having to a particular substance. For example, we eat some bread and manifest abnormal bloating, or we give our child too much refined sugar and they start “bouncing off the walls” with hyperactivity. Both of these reactions can be allergic reactions to wheat or sugar respectively.
These allergic reactions can manifest as physical or behavioral imbalances. Other symptoms of allergic reactions you are familiar with include sneezing, runny nose or itchy eyes due to hay-fever. Some common symptoms of allergies that occur, but are less understood by laymen, is one which causes migraine headaches or gastrointestinal disorders. Both of these illnesses can be caused or exacerbated by consuming trigger foods, which contain high amounts of amines (chocolate, cheese, citrus and alcohol) or gluten (wheat, breads, some natural and synthetic medicines). There are many other foods that are associated with allergies, they are too many to note. Some individuals are hypersensitive while others are less sensitive.
There are many hypoallergenic diets that one could employ, but most people are not interested because they may work. An effective dietary regime might be very restrictive to some folks. So I always recommend paying close attention to what you eat, when you eat and how your mind and body respond to that food. In general, when addressing an allergic response with diet, decrease every food you are eating by fasting for a week on raw or steamed vegetables, and drink plenty of water. Then begin adding the foods you regularly eat so that you can easily identify a reaction that you have to a particular food.
Secondly, remember that I have mentioned only a few potential allergic reactions in this article, but for the most part if you are having any type of allergy you want to minimize the following foods: sugar, wheat, red meats, excessive salt, dairy, coffee, caffeine, and alcohol. Furthermore, you want to minimize your stress and the foods mentioned above because they deplete the adrenal system, giving rise to adrenal fatigue, which can be at the core of many allergic reactions and diminished immune system function.
During allergy season, many products are available that will help reduce the symptoms and make you more comfortable, but they will not heal the issue. Both natural and synthetic products can suppress the symptoms and not address the underlying issue. Traditional Asian (eastern) medicine teaches that the allergy is a symptom of a greater underlying imbalance, which should be addressed for any hope of a cure to occur. To enhance your overall health and immune function, be sure to take your multiple vitamins everyday also incorporate essential fatty acids (flax seed oil or fish oils), vitamins A, C, and E; B-complex, CO-Q10, grape seed extract, spirulina, and plenty of green leafy vegetables.
The healthier your lifestyle including proper diet, adequate exercise and rest and nutritional supplementation. Along with routine visits to your holistic health and medical practitioners will insure that you are the best you can be. Healthy Immune function and minimal allergic reactions will be your prize for the sacrifices you make.
Editor’s note: Abayomi Obadélé Meeks, B.S., D.Ac. L Ac. is a doctor of acupuncture and holistic medicine with more than 20 years experience. He is the first African American licensed to practice this medicine in Colorado. Meek is the founder of Moyo Healing and Cultural Arts Center, Inc.
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