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It’s finally starting to feel like the first few days of spring have arrived. I couldn’t be happier that the weather is warming up! It truly inspires me. But one of the only downfalls about the arrival of spring is that along with it comes allergy season. Cue the sneezing, itching, and coughing. Although spring is quite literally in the air, there is no reason you shouldn’t be outdoors enjoying every minute of it. So, with the help of our nutritionist Shira Lenchewski, RD, today I am sharing three natural ways to survive spring allergy season.

Shira explains that allergies occur when the immune system mistakes otherwise sneeze-inducing substances like pollen and grass as harmful. “As a defensive move, the body releases histamines into the bloodstream, which are responsible for the inflammatory response in the nasal airways and sinuses,” she says. Now that you know why allergies happen, here’s how to avoid them…

1. Eat the right stuff.
I find that turning to diet is usually the answer to solving a lot of health problems in life. For example, my fiancé William gets allergies during the spring season. He has found that avoiding dairy products all together helps a ton with his congestion. Shira also recommends eating omega-3 rich fatty fish (salmon, sardines and mackerel), olive oil, walnuts, flax seeds, dark leafy greens, ginger, turmeric, tomatoes, garlic, berries, and green tea. These foods are all anti-inflammatory, so they will help relieve allergies.

2. Add a little honey.
Eating local honey has also shown to help relieve seasonal allergies. Local honey works the same way as a vaccine: When bees create honey, some of the pollen from flowers they have pollinated rubs off from the bees and into the honey. Therefore, eating local honey is essentially introducing your body to the pollen it is allergic to. The idea is that over time, your body will get used to these allergens and grow immune to them. I add local honey to my smoothies, on top of frozen yogurt, or with fresh berries. I even eat it plain on days when I’m running out the door and I can feel allergies coming on. Just don’t add it into piping hot tea—the heat will kill off all the good enzymes that act as antihistamines.

3. Use a natural sinus rinse.
When allergies create congestion or—even worse—sinus infections, the best think you can do for relief is rinsing out your sinuses. You can go to the store and buy a Neti Pot, which actually works like magic. Or, you can make your own at-home sinus rinse. It will flush out all the allergens and leave you feeling clean and clear. Simply mix natural salt and a pinch of baking soda into purified water. Pour the mixture into a Neti Pot, a Saline rinse bottle, or a glass that has a pouring spout. Tip your head to one side and pour the mixture through one nostril until it comes out the other. It doesn’t sound pretty, but I guarantee your sinuses will thank you.

I hope these tips help you to enjoy the spring weather…flowers, pollen and all!

Do you have any tips for surviving spring allergy season?

Leave your tips in the comments below. I’d love to read them!

XO Lauren

Source: Shira Lenchewski, RD