Most of us who live along the lakeshore are excited by the prospect of springtime warmth and the seasonal changes that come with it. Many people with allergies struggle with these changes as their body reacts and adapts to them.
Our body has an amazing immune system that protects us from things in our environment that may cause us harm. That same immune system also can “overreact” to some environmental or airborne triggers or “allergens” that it encounters.
This response is from antibodies which are wonderful protectors. The overreaction from these antibodies to the allergen is what most people experience as “allergies”—wheezing, itching, runny nose, watering eyes, etc.
The same response can occur from some of the foods we eat. Many processed foods create inflammation. Our body can adversely react to these foods as it tries to rid the body of the inflammation/offender.
So where does the immune/allergy response come from? Lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are white blood cells that come from many different places in our body. They are our antibody defenders or “first responders”.
Surprisingly, most of our immune response comes from our gut! 70-80% of it to be exact. To have a coordinated, proper immune system response to our environment and the food we eat, we need to address the health of our gut or GI tract. The entire gastrointestinal (GI) tract is important. This starts in our mouth, goes to our stomach, through the small intestine and then through our colon.
Our diet and lifestyle then can have profound effects on our immune system. Eating healthy plant-based foods is key. Fruits, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower), roots and tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams) are helpful. Nutritional supplementation is also key.
Vitamins D3, C, B12 as well as probiotics and fish oil in proper quantities, are essential to a healthy immune system. Caring for our immune system and positively influencing our allergy response can make our seasonal changes more enjoyable!
To learn more about helping your immune system, contact HFM Functional Medicine at 920-320-4700.