The Secret World of Allergies
Allergies - the very thought conjures up images of stuffy noses, trouble breathing and, above all, extreme discomfort.
Also, there is a dangerous side effect that we do not always keep in mind. With allergies come inflammation. Overall, that is not a problem. Inflammation is a body response to try and get rid of intruders. On the other hand, chronic inflammation is a slow-burning challenge to the body. We spoke about that in a previous article.
What causes allergies?
Your body is an amazing construct. One of the most fascinating of the components is the immune system. The immune system resides mainly in the gut. An allergy is defined as an abnormal reaction to a foreign substance.
Have you ever reacted harshly towards someone because you misheard what they said? This is pretty much the same thing that happens in our bodies, with the same effect.
The immune system can either have a complete misreading of a safe substance and see it as a pathogen, or it can become sensitised. What does that mean? When you eat the same foods continuously, for example, your immune system can start reacting to it. We do not always notice this type of reaction, yet symptoms give us a clue.
This type of allergic response is known as a sensitivity and is especially relevant to what we ingest. Food sensitivities are a major challenge in our lives and can
How do we test for allergies?
However, we can do testing to find out what we are sensitive too. Two main tests are used at the moment:
Immunoglobulin E (IgE)
IgE tests are sometimes referred to as RAST tests. These are blood tests that measure an immediate response to a substance. A positive result is then labelled an allergy.
Immunoglobulin G (IgG)
IgE tests are usually finger-prick tests. These tests work on the subtler and oftentimes missed responses to substances. They are mostly related to food types. A positive result in IgG can indicate an allergy as well as food intolerance.
Are there natural treatments available for allergies?
The short answer is yes. There are several options to help with the treatment of allergies.
Our secret weapon - Quercetin
Quercetin and its health benefits
Quercetin is a natural yellow pigment that belongs to a group of plant compounds called flavonoids. These compounds are rich in antioxidant activity and exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and anti-oxidant effects.
Antioxidants mop up and neutralize free radicals inside the body. These unstable molecules can cause damage to the cells when their levels are too high resulting in serious conditions like cancer and diabetes.
Foods containing quercetin can help manage several inflammatory health issues. It is important to keep inflammation under control as chronic inflammation can eventually lead to damaged cells, tissue and organs. Over time, this can lead to chronic conditions like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disorders, allergies and heart disease.
The causes of chronic inflammation are stress; viral and bacterial pathogens; foods like sugar and refined carbohydrates; long term exposure to irritants like pollution; smoking, high blood insulin levels, obesity and auto-immune response.
Quercetin is the most well-researched antioxidant and the numerous studies done on this flavonoid have yielded some impressive results.
Quercetin and Allergies
This natural antihistamine can relieve the symptoms of asthma and the effects of seasonal allergies that cause symptoms like coughing, sneezing, runny noses, itching and watery eyes.
Quercetin has been used for centuries in herbal formulas to control food allergies and to provide relief from skin conditions like eczema and hives.
For even stronger anti-inflammatory effects, take Quercetin as a supplement. It is safe to take as a supplement with little to no side effects. Doses exceeding 1000IU a day could result in headaches and tingling in the arms.
20 foods containing quercetin
Quercetin is the most abundant flavonoid in a healthy diet.
- Green tea
- Spring onions
- Iceberg lettuce
- Red currants
Recipe: Roasted Anti Allergie Deliciousness
- 250 g broccoli
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 1 medium chilli, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- olive oil
- parmesan cheese
- Heat the oven to 220 degrees C. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
- Put the broccoli onto a shallow oven tray and toss with olive oil. Season with a bit of salt.
- Roast for 4 minutes then add the chilli, garlic and lemon zest. Mix it well before putting it back into the oven for another 4 minutes until the broccoli is done.
- Finish with a bit of lemon juice and grate parmesan cheese over.