Do you love gardening but find that your allergies limit the time you can spend outdoors? Severe seasonal allergies are no joke! When they’re at their worst, tending to your tomatoes can be exhausting. If you take an antihistamine to get some relief, the resulting drowsiness can take the fun out of what should be an enjoyable task.
The answer might be right under your nose!
There is hope, and you’ll find it in a place you might not have expected. Your garden itself may hold the key to feeling better. The very things you’re growing there can, over time, reduce your symptoms and make gardening pleasant again. If you start to move those vegetables from the sidelines into a leading role on your dinner plate, you’re well on your way.
What does food have to do with seasonal allergies?
The digestive tract is closely related to immune function. In fact, 70% of the immune system is found there. It’s also home to hundreds of species of bacteria. Most of these are the “good bugs” we’ve been hearing so much about lately, which perform many health-supporting functions, including aiding in digestion and regulating the immune system. A diet high in refined and low-fiber foods can damage the good bugs and promote the growth of bad bugs.
The keys to promoting the growth of good bacteria and maintaining a strong immune system include the fiber and micro-nutrients found in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes. High nutrient intake regulates the inflammatory response and promotes proper immune function.
Which foods are best for the immune system?
It’s important to eat a large variety and quantity of plant foods in order to get the full nutritional benefit. Nutrients are designed by nature to work together to keep us healthy. Cruciferous vegetables, however, are especially beneficial to digestion and are the most densely packed with micro nutrients. These include kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, arugula, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Other foods high on the list in terms of nutrient density, according to the scoring system developed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, are spinach, romaine lettuce, green and red peppers, onions, asparagus, strawberries, and tomatoes. Many of these suggested vegetable varieties can be found in Humble Seed’s Producer seed bank.
Allergy relief through diet is a long-term strategy, not a quick fix, and each person is unique in how quickly they’ll respond. But many people find that their symptoms are greatly improved or even disappear completely after some time on a plant-based diet. If you want to move from masking symptoms to truly healing and get back to doing more of the things you love, let your garden lead the way!
About the Author:
Shelly Rawson is a health coach specializing in plant-based nutrition, allergies, and women’s health. To learn more, visit www.naturallynourishedandwell.com.