You have heard this:The functional nutrition approach to allergies tells us that the way to achieve victory in the long term is by hitting it at the root (literally).
However, when an allergy sufferer wants to kick allergies, they want it NOW. In fact, they want it yesterday. The misery of staying with a runny nose, watery eyes, unable to breath at times is so overwhelming that good health is really not as much as a priority as comfort. I get that, I am like that, in fact, with headaches. A short cut isn’t unfortunately always the best cut, for any chronic health affliction.
Chronic: Persisting for a long time or constantly recurring
Acute: Of short duration but typically severe
Quick fixes (pill popping, fad diets, etc.) are designed for acute conditions. When a condition repeats every year, it needs root-cause remedies. This is the learning that functional nutrition imparts for all chronic conditions.
The number 1 influencer of your immunity is your gut health, and I include the microbes living in your large intestine. Did you know that a vast signaling network has been discovered between bacteria living in your gut, on your skin, in your nose, etc.
Disruption of this signaling by antibiotics, hand sanitizers, eating diets with refined foods, high in sugar, serve to either under-feed bacteria, feed the wrong bacteria, or feed them in the wrong place, all of which lead to chronic health conditions.
Check out this article for more information on bacterial signaling and the immune system.
5 things you can do to optimize your child’s microbiome (to heal your allergies of course):
- Feed the bugs. There are schools of thought that say that prebiotics, the food that bugs eat are more important than probiotics. These predominantly include soluble fiber.Have your root vegetables and rotate them. Eat whole grains and legumes, and alternate them.
- Eat a diverse diet. You may have noticed the emphasis on rotating grains and vegetables in the previous point. This is because we have a dazzling variety of bacteria in our gut and they all eat different food.
Serve your family ferments every day. Food is of no use if there is no one to feed. Every traditional
culture has a history of a variety of fermented foods. Sauerkraut, buttermilk, and a variety of fermented vegetables exist. Buy them raw, or better yet, make them at home. Store bought brands are often pasteurized (killing all the bacteria), or have very low bacterial counts.
- Encourage your child to play in the (organic) dirt.
- Look at alternatives to antibiotics. Don’t get me wrong here. If your child is sick and needs antibiotics, by all means, don’t avoid them like the plague! But most conditions that necessitate antibiotics are preventable, or can be treated through gentler means, eg. ear infections. In fact, points 1-4 will actually make point 5 easier.
A healthy immune system is like a healthy plant. You need to water the soil, provide it nutrients so there are no weeds, but not make it sterile. You need the earthworms, and the naturally occurring symbiotic organisms to help your plant grow. And it takes time.
Check out my previous blog on bacteria, ear infections, and signs of a disturbed microbiome here.