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While some of us jump for joy with the arrival of spring, others greet it with dread. The warmer weather brings torture for many allergy and asthma sufferers. But Fred Pescatore, M.D., author of The Allergy & Asthma Cure, has some good news: your diet can help relieve allergy and asthma symptoms.
According to Dr. Pescatore, for those who suffer with sneezing, itchy eyes, breathlessness, rashes, and other similar symptoms at this time of year, unbalanced eating habits may well be to blame. While most allergy sufferers reach for a prescription, proper nutrition can make a dramatic difference.
Formerly the Associate Medical Director of The Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine, Dr. Pescatore has compiled a list of dietary and lifestyle recommendations from his years of practice and has been able to end or reduce the need for asthma and allergy medication in many of his patients. He says that there is no need for anyone to stay indoors or feel miserable for an entire season due to these conditions.
Whether you suffer from allergies or asthma, Dr. Pescatore's cure is the same: You must reduce inflammation in your body. He advises that if, for example, you have yeast or mold allergies, consider a low-yeast diet. That means avoiding fermented foods, aged cheeses, and mushrooms. During grass season, limit consumption of milk products to avoid congestion, as well as all grains including corn, wheat, oats, rye and rice.
Steer clear of foods that trigger inflammation including refined sugars, flours, and processed food. Additionally, he advises avoiding specific foods that cross-react with environmental allergens in order to reduce your overall 'allergy burden.' This can allow your body to better handle inhaled allergens.
Tree allergy season peaks in April and extends into June, so during this period Dr. Pescatore advises patients to avoid celery, carrots, apples, potatoes, peaches, nuts, and spices belonging to the apiaceae family, i.e. anise, caraway, coriander, cumin, fennel, parsley and parsnip.
In addition to modifying your diet, Dr. Pescatore has found that certain nutritional supplements can help allergy and asthma sufferers:
- Vitamin D3 can decrease inflammation
- Vitamin C helps combat the added stress to our bodies caused by allergies
- Vitamin A helps rid the body of mucus
- Vitamin B12 stabilizes the imbalance of bacteria that occurs in the gut of most allergy sufferers
- Pantethine (a biologically active form of vitamin B5) works as a natural steroid that produces a helpful enzyme
- Quercetin (a plant pigment that acts as an antioxidant) is one of nature's best antihistamines
- Magnesium helps your body rid itself of toxins we encounter daily while helping us breathe more easily.
Dr. Pescatore also offers some common-sense allergy-preventive measures:
- Close your windows at night to prevent allergens from coming into your home
- Use an air purifier to reduce airborne allergens, including mold
- Take off your shoes before coming inside to prevent allergens from entering with you
- Vacuum your car's interior where pollen hides
Cleaning up your diet and taking some simple precautions can mean the difference between enjoying spring and suffering through it.
For more information, check out Dr. Pescatore's book, The Allergy & Asthma Cure.