Preventing Spring Allergies for Enhanced Performance

Every Spring, as soon as the snow melts and it’s “soggy” outside, my allergies go berserk   It hit me hard a couple weeks ago during a workout, and I noticed other people at the gym were pretty stuffy and sneezy themselves.

SneezyI find that even on “non-drowsy” medicine, I still feel weak, stuffed up, and always with a terrible sinus headache.  Before you go popping Zyrtec or Claritin, check out some alternative (or common sense) things you can do to help dominate allergy season, and keep your performance level high!

Before I give some pointers, let’s review quick WHY allergies happen.  It’s simple.  First, we breath in an allergen (i.e. pollen, mold, pet dander) and it gets stuck in your nose.  The allergens block the receptors on certain cells called “mast cells”, and our body then sends out “histamine” which triggers a bunch of reactions like sneezing, running nose, watery eyes, etc.  Make sense?

So the question is, what do you do about it?  Here is how to combat allergies a little more naturally:

  1. Get the crud out of your nasal passage- you can use a Neti Pot (weird, but effective) to rinse out your nose.  This is a simple, inexpensive, and natural solution that is definitely worth a try!
  2. Eat Omega-3 rich foods like fish, walnuts, flaxseed, grass-fed meat, or organic eggs.  They help reduce inflammation, which can help your body control symptoms.
  3. Spice up your Life- add some chili peppers, hot mustard, horseradish, turmeric, or curry to your food.  These spices can act as natural decongestants.
  4. Use the AC-  whether in your car or at home, running your air conditioning prevent pollen from getting in your home.
  5. Do some “Spring Cleaning”- do a thorough vacuum and get rid of any pet dander that may be adding to your seasonal symptoms.  A quick wipe down of any dusty areas, especially in your bedroom, can also make a noticeable difference.
  6. Buy Some Stinging Nettle- it acts like a drug and inhibits your body’s ability to make histamine, but without any unwanted side effects.
  7. Pick Up Some Quercetin: It’s a natural bioflavonoid that helps prevent the release of histamine   It’s also a antioxidant which can help reduce damage to your cells by getting rid of free radicals. Recommended dose is 1000mg/day between meals. You can also start taking quercetin 4-6 weeks BEFORE the pollen hits to get a head start. NOTE: If you are pregnant or nursing, or have liver disease, consult your doctor first before taking any supplement

    Quercetin is naturally occurring, but a supplement might help you get to the necessary dose to help combat allergies!


Hopefully now you have a general understanding on how allergies work, and what you can do to help fix your symptoms!

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at: caitlin@longlivefood.com, or visit my website: www.longlivefood.com for more health and wellness tips!

Stay Well,



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    1. On April 17, 2013 Amanda Redepenning said

      Super interesting! Sometimes I have a histamine reaction after I run. Especially in the winter. I get all itchy and red, and sometimes break out in huge hives. I wonder if the two suggestions you made to decrease histamine production would help me in these situations?

    2. On April 17, 2013 John J. Austrian said

      Amanda, I think you're like me and just allergic to running.

    3. On April 17, 2013 Amanda Redepenning said

      Well if that's the case then it's really weird that I've ran 2 marathons and 2 half ironmans :)

    4. On April 17, 2013 John J. Austrian said

      Not weird. Just masochistic.

    5. On April 17, 2013 Amanda Redepenning said

      Hahahahah!!! Perhaps you know me better than I thought!

    6. On April 17, 2013 Teddy Kim said

      I am a big fan of nasal irrigation, but I actually use something that looks like a big turkey baster. It's awesome.

    7. On April 17, 2013 Lucia Hawley said

      Or later in the season (carefully) wild harvest some elderberries!

    8. On April 17, 2013 Alex Lau said

      I've heard that neti pots are amazing, but I've also heard that they can cause really bad sinus infections if used incorrectly. Make sure you watch how to use them first!

    9. On April 18, 2013 Andy Beckwith said

      Same here – works better than the gravity driven neti pot – mine is called a sinu-rinse

    10. On April 18, 2013 Andy Beckwith said

      …and sterilize

    11. On April 18, 2013 Marijke Smith said

      YES sterilize, and only use boiled/distilled water. You can get some pretty deadly parasites that eat your brain, literally.

    12. On June 7, 2014 www.soudure.fr said

      Incredible points. Great arguments. Keep up the great morale.

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