01.09.2016 Yoga

Beating Springtime Allergies

Jen Kaz suggests how to make the most of this beautiful season without sneezes and wheezes

Spring is the best season of all! It marks the end of our cold, chilly winter and this temperate transitional season is enjoyed before the searing summer heat arrives. It’s time for deep inhales and long exhales clearing away winter blues.

What a great time of year it is with the promise and wonder of new beginnings.

Mother Nature’s ecosystem of Planet Earth is about to showcase a beautiful display of blooms. New shoots appear on bushes, shrubs and trees, fresh buds bloom into pretty, colourful flowers.

The countryside becomes a wonderland of wildflowers with brilliant colours of yellows, pinks, purples, blues, mauves, white, reds and oranges. Animals come out of hibernation. Birds chirp with their chicks, mother duck has her ducklings.

I find that I too hibernate to a certain degree during the winter months and enjoy being rugged up on the couch. But as soon as spring arrives I feel motivated to turn the TV off and spend time outdoors and be active.

As the days get longer and warmer I begin to feel lighter – physically and emotionally.

My cooking changes from thick soups, casseroles and stews to lighter foods.

I’m now enjoying salads and love the seasonal food now available. I realise we can get just about anything we want but often this comes at a huge cost to our health, environment, farmers and economy.

I realise we can get just about anything we want but often this comes at a huge cost to our health, environment, farmers and economy.

Try eating in season and giving your body what Mother Nature intended at this time of year. Local food boasts a host of benefits including better flavour, higher nutritional value and less environmental burden. There are numerous Farmers Markets selling locally grown produce as consumers are realising the benefits of eating food that was grown close to home.

It’s healthier too because you get the higher nutrient levels from just-picked produce, it’s tastier and better for the environment.

However, on the downside, spring often brings suffering when the allergens blow in the air. Yes, this is allergy season and as climate change gathers pace, it means that the season of pollen may be lasting longer.

The most common springtime allergy symptoms can leave you feeling uncomfortable with itchy or watery eyes, runny nose, or exhausted from continual sneezing.

The number one way to reduce allergies quickly is to boost the immune system and, at the same time, support gut health.

An allergy is the immune system responding abnormally to harmless substances. The number one way to reduce allergies quickly is to boost the immune system and, at the same time, support gut health. Regularly consuming probiotics will help, such as fermented raw sauerkraut, kombucha, dairy-free capsules from the pharmacy and kefir.

I’ve read where local raw honey can be of help.

It is supposed to work because the gradual intake of local pollen will help build your immunity before the symptoms start. For West Australians, try jarrah honey from our South West, while other honeys from local species would be recommended elsewhere. This may work for some people and give relief, but there are plenty of other remedies you could try.

Also, consuming bee pollen from local bees can help to reduce allergies.The pollen must be local and free from insecticides, as you need to build up a tolerance to the plants in your area. Bee pollen is a natural substance and known to enhance energy, slow the ageing process, contain B vitamins, promote weight loss and sharpen memory. It also tastes amazing! If you can’t get the granules, capsules and powder is available.

Importantly though if you have a pollen allergy, it’s crucial to take caution and consult your doctor before consuming.

There are many homemade remedies you could try, including these ideas:

Peppermint-Nettle leaf tea

1 tsp. dried peppermint or ¼ cup chopped fresh peppermint

1 tsp. dried nettle leaf or ¼ cup chopped fresh nettle leaf

1 cup boiling water

Honey to taste

Place in a teapot. Allow to steep. Enjoy twice a day, or as needed.

Since the immune system is struggling to function, citrus filled drinks containing plenty of Vitamin C can help support your body.

Combine

½ lemon

2 oranges

1 tbsp. of jarrah (or local) honey

Drink daily

Allergy Tips

Line drying clothes can contribute to your allergy as the pollen sticks to washing.

Bathe before going to bed. Doing so will remove any pollen that may be stuck in your hair or on your skin and this ensures you don’t transfer pollen to your bedding.

Maybe it’s time ‘spring clean’ your wardrobe! Ask yourself the following questions –

  • Would I buy this if I was shopping right now?
  • Have I worn this in the last 12 months?
  • Do I feel confident and happy when I wear this?
  • Does it still fit?
  • Am I likely to wear it again?
  • Does it accurately represent my style?
  • Is it fashionable?
  • Will I make the effort to sew that button on, fix the zip or make it more presentable?

Charitable organisations welcome your clothes with open arms! Along with books, bric-a-brac and anything else you no longer use or need.

Spring is a time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful sunshine we’re so very blessed to have.

Jen Kaz

Jen Kaz trained and taught yoga in London in 2008. In early 2010 she returned to Perth and began teaching QiYoga. www.qiyoga.org

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