Most allergy sufferers don’t think of their sneezing and congestion as a serious health problem but chronic inflammation, caused by allergies, can be detrimental to one’s overall health.
Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States and cost the health care system $18 billion each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
Unchecked allergies lead to chronic inflammation and eventually chronic disease because the immune system is always activated. Chronic inflammation, caused by allergies, can have harmful effects, as reported in the February 2011 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine. Allergic adults with wheezing have more than double the risk of heart disease. Allergy sufferers with sniffles are slightly more vulnerable. Why? Inflammation may lead to thickening of blood vessels.
How does one lower inflammation if you are an allergy sufferer? Follow Popeye’s regimen and eat your spinach (and other leafy green). The cartoon sailor knew what he was doing when he downed his spinach which can reduce inflammation.
Aim for three plus servings of spinach, kale, swiss chard or other dark leafy greens per day to help knock out inflammation. Other benefits include improved stamina, less stroke risk and more brain power.
One cup of spinach or other dark greens equals a serving. Try a salad with two cups of spinach or a “green” smoothie. Here’s an inflammation-fighting smoothie that will get you two servings of greens.
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale leaves with stems removed
1 T. chia or flax seed
1 cup coconut water
Optional: 1 scoop protein powder of choice
Sweeten to taste with stevia or other sweetener
Put everything in a high-powered blender or food processor, and pulse until smooth and drinkable. Add ice if you want a colder version.
Other ways to reduce inflammation include detecting hidden food allergies, meditating, practicing good nutrition, exercising, reducing stress and getting adequate sleep.