dandelionIt’s Spring-time here in Vancouver. And with that comes the beginning of the dreaded plant-and-pollen season. Thousand of people throughout Vancouver and the lower mainland are making their annual trip to the pharmacy to stock up on anti-histamine medications. Fortunately, people are starting to realize that they don’t have to suffer from allergy symptoms. There are many holistic approaches that can help to alleviate, reduce and even eliminate the discomfort!

It is estimated that about 75% of our immune system is actually located inside our gut. Because of this fact, the importance of good nutrition should be obvious. If we can promote a healthy digestive tract, our body can naturally overcome much of the suffering from allergy symptoms.

When it comes to healing the intestines and gut, there is a plethora of foods that are beneficial. Here are my top 5 foods that I believe best support reducing allergies:

Dandelion – this bitter offers excellent support to your liver. The liver is responsible for filtering much of the toxins in our body, as well as produce bile needed for proper digestion of fats. When our liver is not functioning optimally, our digestion becomes impaired and our immune system becomes overwhelmed. Dandelion can give your liver some much needed assistance and help reduce allergies.

Unpasteurized Sauerkraut – this (and other traditionally fermented foods) provides our digestive system with a massive boost of probiotics (good gut flora). Be sure to get unpasteurized since pasteurization will destroy all of the beneficial flora that we want. The live probiotics from raw sauerkraut are often more powerful than any pill or supplement. When our intestines are lacking in probiotics, our immune system becomes over-burdened, and allergies often arise.

Organic Kiwi Fruit (with skin on) – Although the entire fruit is full of allergy-fighting vitamin-C, the kiwi fruit skin is also high in phenolic compounds, such as flavanoids, which have antioxidant properties. Eating the skin triples the fiber, and increases the Vitamin-C you get from the fruit. It’s no secret that vitamin-C plays a major role in boosting the immune system. Eating one kiwi fruit per day can give you as much as 150% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin-C (and 3 times as much if you eat the skin).

Wild Salmon – The essential fatty acids (especially Omega-3) present in wild salmon is crucial for allergy relief. As well as having anti-inflammatory effects, the EFA’s in wild salmon will also work to heal and protect your intestinal system, where most of the immune system is found. Eating wild salmon 2-3 times a week will give your body a much needed advantage when battling allergies.

Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil – Unrefined virgin coconut oil is some of the healthiest fat on the planet. The medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil have been known to assist the body absorb other vitamins and minerals, as well as help in the production of various hormones needed for allergy relief. This anti-inflammatory oil is also a natural anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-microbial substance.