10 Percent- the number of Americans that had a rhinitis allergy in 1970. This usually manifests as a runny nose, watery- eye reaction associated with hay fever.
30 Percent- the percentage that suffered with the same condition in 2010.
Peanut allergies tripled from 1997 to 2008. The number of U.S. kids with peanut allergies increased by 50 percent and an estimated 300 Million people have asthma. An estimated 1 Billion people now experience an allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity. That's roughly one in every seven of us.
Welcome to the global allergy epidemic. But why is this so?
We've approached a point in time where the intersection of many variables is causing this sensitivity. We have longer, warmer seasons due to climate change and more pollen exposure. Allergenic weeds are on the rise due to carbon emissions. Our food supply has decreased in quality by way of genetically modified foods, the use of glyphosates (Round Up) and additives, which reduces our microbiomes and, therefore, our immunity. A study published in The Journal of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Research, stated that more than 100,000 new chemicals have been developed for use in the last few decades.
Our air exposure is a major player in this with the increase of forest fires due to climate change and can travel hundreds of miles. Backyard fire pits contain particulate matter and toxic chemicals. Cleaning supplies, cosmetics, new furniture and carpets release chemicals in the air. Urban ragweed will grow faster, flower earlier and produce more above ground biomass and ragweed "pollen" in the warmer carbon- dioxide-rich urban locations. This equates to more significant allergic reactions. We are exposed to a significant toxic burden on a daily basis which triggers an inflammatory process. The result can become chronic inflammation. This interferes with the function of the body's T-cells, which are responsible for turning off the immune response. When they do not function properly, a usual immune response never comes to fruition. This becomes anAUTOIMMUNE CONDITION.
So, what can we do?
Diet- Avoid processed and fast foods to maintain a healthy microbiome, avoid additives, colorings and preservatives. Eat organic to eliminate pesticides and herbicides from conventional food.
Gut- Avoid antibiotics as they kill good bacteria. Do not overuse antibacterial hand- sanitizers. Expose yourself and children to a variety of foods early in life to reduce change of allergies.
Eat Plants- 70% of your immune system is in your gut, so eat foods high in vitamin A, folates and flavanoids like strawberries, sweet potatoes, lentils, parsley and green tea.
Eat Fresh- Left over foods are high in histamines so eat fresh. Support digestive enzymes to help break down allergens.
Flavor cooked over raw- Raw foods are higher in allergens.
Skip Antacids- Antacids will suppress stomach acid which activate enzymes that break down allergens. The longer some one is on proton pump inhibitors the greater the chance of developing allergies.
Heal your Gut- Promote good bacteria by eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and Kvass. Drink whole bone broth or grass-fed gelatin. This can also help to heal leaky gut.
Reduce Plastics- Most plastics contain a harmful plastic called BPA. Never heat foods in plastic or drink from plastic water bottles
Improve Air Quality- Avoid dryer sheets and air fresheners which contain harmful phthalates. Opt for vintage items vs. new to avoid "new" smells.
Embrace Germs- Stick with soap and water and stay away from antimicrobials and antibacterials. Exposure to dirt and germs build the immune system.
Opt for natural antihistamines- Natural substances like quercitin, stinging nettle and vitamin C. Glutathione will also help in tissue repair, especially for those with allergic rhinitis.