Those beautiful, new shades of green all around us are not so beautiful for those who suffer from the sinus pressure, congestion, headaches, itchy eyes and fatigue that are common symptoms of allergies. However, as with most ailments, diet plays a defining role. Incorporating or removing certain items can help allergy sufferers see past the pollen and enjoy the true splendor of the season. For example, you may have heard how eating local honey can alleviate the signs of seasonal allergies. The theory is that local honey exposes the body to small amounts of the same pollen spores that aggravate symptoms, allowing the body to build resistance over time. Hallelujah Acres' Scott Laird, CNC, reveals how, for a person with grass-based allergies, BarleyMax could have a similar effect. “Similar to the idea of a vaccine, drinking BarleyMax introduces a miniscule amount of something that the body is sensitive to — in this case, grass — in an effort to ‘teach’ it how to react,” he says. “The body uses BarleyMax to create antibodies and suddenly, you have developed an internal mechanism to deal with the allergen.” Does it really work? There are few studies on the subject and plenty of naysayers, but there’s no denying personal experience. “Back about 1993 when my wife first tried a barley powder, she immediately had an allergic reaction that resulted in an asthma attack that required the use of her inhaler," recalls Olin Idol, ND, CNC, Hallelujah Acres' Vice-President of Health. "We reduced her serving to 1/8th teaspoon daily and over the next six months gradually worked up to 1 tablespoon twice daily. Her allergies were 95% gone by the end of six months and she had made no other dietary changes at that time. She has since moved more fully onto The Hallelujah Diet and remains allergy-free." Olin's wife had formerly been allergic to various foods, grasses, animal dandruff, and more. She had undergone allergy testing and allergy shots with no improvement. “Essentially, this is the principle of homeopathy,” Laird says, which is based on the concept that ‘like cures like.’ That is, an allergen can, in effect, become its own remedy. “Some people may wonder how this effect is any different than allergy shots, but there is actually a big difference,” he says. “When you eat honey or ingest BarleyMax as a way to equip your body to deal with allergies, it travels through your gastro-intestinal tract, passing through several of your body’s filters. These filters allow the body to process the allergen in a natural fashion, putting minimal stress on the body. But injections (like an allergy shot) that go directly into the bloodstream bypass these natural filters, disabling the body’s opportunity to buffer potentially adverse effects.” And if your body’s filters are not working correctly, allergies can be even worse. How does that happen? Hallelujah Acres Foundation Director of Research Dr. Michael Donaldson explains. “Your skin, liver, kidneys, and lungs are like the ‘coffee filters’ for your body. They have to strain out, detoxify, and eliminate toxins. If they get plugged up (by a bad diet or lack of exercise) and can’t get rid of the waste, your body begins to back up like a bad sewer,” he says. Donaldson suggests getting plenty of clean air and consuming pure water and organic food to reduce toxic buildup and that doing so helps alleviate another issue related to allergic responses — leaky gut syndrome, a condition in which undigested food and other proteins penetrate the gut barrier and enter the bloodstream. When this happens, the immune system perceives these intruders as foreign substances and begins to attack them, often leading to a hypersensitive response (allergic reaction). "BarleyMax, along with a low-sugar diet, will stop the leaky gut compromise so that fewer allergens get into the bloodstream," Donaldson says. "This allows digestion to improve, without allowing undigested particles out of the gut. This is important for a person hoping to reverse their allergic condition." One of the most noted offenders in the battle against allergies (and leaky gut) is dairy — even if you’re not allergic to it. Dairy products contain arachidonic acids that increase the production of leukotrienes in the body and can lead to the generation of phlegm, mucus, and inflammation. In addition, the pasteurization of cow’s milk creates excess proteins (beta-casein), which make it hard for the human body to properly digest it. Coupled with high levels of saturated fats, dairy products contribute to a weakened immune system and make it hard for the body to fight off irritants, resulting in more severe allergic reactions. Another way to reduce the potential for allergic reactions is by boosting the immune system so that it has the power to perform more readily when irritants are present. Taking a daily probiotic like Hallelujah Acres Professional Strength Probiotic is a great way to arm your defenses. Foods that contain high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, also give the immune system just what it needs to fight off infections and go head-to-head with histamines. Histamines are proteins that your body produces when exposed to foreign substances, such as pollen or bacteria. Occasionally, your body can overproduce histamines, which can lead to inflammation and increased mucus production. Many naturopathic doctors believe that certain nutrients, such as quercetin (found heavily in grape seed extract, red onions, plums, capers, kale and many fruits and vegetables), could help to control the release of histamines and help you hang up your handkerchief for good! Why suffer through another allergy season? If any one of these suggestions helps to reduce your symptoms, it's worth a shot (no pun intended)!
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