Fight Seasonal Discomfort with 3 Simple Health Tips
Can an unhealthy lifestyle trigger seasonal discomfort?
The answer may surprise you!
You already know that spring blooms can lead to itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, and a scratchy throat. But did you know that your overall health and lifestyle choices can exacerbate these symptoms of seasonal discomfort?
Here’s why: seasonal discomfort is an allergic response to things in the environment. When the body thinks that pollens, grasses, dust, and other benign substances are foreign invaders, then it can signal the immune system to attack the intruders, developing something called antigens. The more the body is exposed to these antigens, the more severe the allergic response can be.
The immune system responds in a variety of ways, ranging from mild to severe. Some people sustain the season with nothing more than a runny nose when they’re outside. Others can experience life-threatening conditions like anaphylaxis.
How Your Health Affects Your Immune System Function
Because allergic reactions are triggered by an immune response, it’s important to ensure you stay healthy. Living a healthy lifestyle keeps your immune system functioning optimally. As a result, your body will be better equipped to handle whatever nature throws your way.
There are three key lifestyle components that can make symptoms of seasonal discomfort worse:
Eating processed food, junk food, and consuming alcohol
Sugar is an immune suppressant. Not only does it decrease the activity of immune-boosting white blood cells, but it also causes an imbalance in your gut of good and bad bacteria. Because the gut houses 70% of the cells that make up the immune system, having a balance of good gut bacteria is vital to health.
Further, diets that are high in sugar and rely on processed foods often lack nutrients. Consuming antioxidants like Vitamins A, D, and C are crucial for optimal immune function.
- Being stressed
Stress causes a rush of adrenaline and the hormone cortisol to run through your veins. When this happens, vital immune functions are put on hold. The reason is that being stressed puts your body in a constant state of “fight or flight.”
Stress hormones also inhibit immune function. While you might not be able to get rid of stress entirely from your life, try to slow down and give yourself time to breathe each day. Meditating, connecting with other people and taking walks around the block can help clear your mind and boost your endorphin levels.
- Not getting enough sleep
Sleep is a necessary building block of health. When we sleep, our body repairs itself, so this R&R is a requirement to stave off illness.
Further, not getting enough sleep has been shown to cause hormonal imbalances, which can also lead to inflammation.
Researchers recommend getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night to keep your immune system in tip top shape.
Have you noticed that your allergies get worse when you’re not eating healthy, are feeling stressed or you’re not getting enough sleep? Let us know about your experience in the comments!