asthma & allergy naturally part 4 :: strengthen the body

{you can find all previous posts & resources here}

If you’re just coming on the scene, I’ve been sharing how we should identify foods triggering allergic reactions in our kiddos’ bodies.  These reactions can in turn lead to asthma symptoms or attacks – causing a full-blown cycle of a decrease in children’s ability to heal and recover.

I believe there’s a better way.

Beginning with an elimination diet and then pursuing an anti-inflammatory diet has done wonders for the asthmatics in our family.  Cleansing the body of trigger foods brought a level of relief, then cleansing our home of environmental triggers made a significant difference as well.

These steps took time and intentionality, but I believe were an important foundation for what came next.  We took out the bad stuff (to our children’s bodies), then we replaced it with healthy doses of good stuff.

We strengthened bodies in two areas:  the GUT and the IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Strengthening the Gut

I don’t go around talking about the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract or the Gut) on a regular basis, but it’s become a BIG topic in health circles.  And for good reason — everything we eat or drink passes through our gut.

A simple overview is that this tract is lined with a complex system of millions of helpful and harmful bacteria (referred to as gut flora).  We need a whole lot more of the helpful category in order to fight off infection and disease.  I recently read the gut flora makes up nearly 75% of our body’s immune fighting ability! {source}

Unfortunately, overuse of antibiotics & other meds, stress, too much sugar, intestinal infections, toxins, poor diet and more lead to a weakened gut ecosystem.  What does this mean for allergies & asthma?

For starters, when our gut flora is off-balanced, the protective lining in our intestines can’t do its job well.  Things that were never meant to pass this barrier now find their way into our bodies – its called leaky gut syndrome (great, short video!) and can lead to food allergies or intolerances – not good news.

When this happens, the body gives off an hyper-immune response leading to more inflammation — yikes!  We already talked how extra inflammation is definitely bad news for asthmatics.

See the potential problems here?  You’ve got to give the gut – especially our children’s sensitive intestinal tracts – a serious break.

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Here’s how we approached this:

  • radically cut out most sugar in our diet for a period of time
  • avoided hydrogenated oils
  • repopulated healthy bacteria with probiotic supplements (our kids take Primadophilus chewables, yogurt is great too)
  • drank kombucha and water kefir – I couldn’t believe the kids liked the taste of kombucha (a fermented tea).  while I didn’t give them a whole lot at once, it’s a great drink full of healthy bacteria
  • introduced more Omega-3 foods and fish oil into their diet.  Omega 3s calm inflammation in the body; good sources are walnuts, avocados, almonds, spinach, salmon, flaxseed oil and fish oil – our kids take Nordic Naturals cod liver oil masked in smoothies 🙂

If you find a need to be more aggressive in healing the gut, here’s good article explaining the GAPS diet approach.  We haven’t done this, but hear it’s worked wonders for others!

Strengthening the Immune System

The importance of a strong immune system cannot be overstated and I think if we take time to heal and nourish our intestinal tract…the battle may be more than half won!  I’ll mention a few things in particular that we found helpful.

Overwhelmed?  Take baby steps, a little at a time.

The final post in this series will focus on nourishing the body — if you’ve missed other posts, please stop by the landing page of info!

 ** UPDATE – here’s Part 5 Nourish the Body **

disclaimer: the information presented in this post is for educational purposes alone.  It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.  All readers are encouraged to seek professional medical assistance before implementing any suggestions and to discern if such changes or suggestions should be pursued.  thank you.

 

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4 comments

Great tips! Glad to have found your blog. I was homeschooled from K-12 and I benefited from it so much. Stay encouraged, you’re doing a great work!

so great to meet you at ALLUME! <3 Traci Michele

Nice

I am overwhelmed by what i have learnt so far, i have a daughter who is almost five and has had over 10 episodes of serious attacks and we have just left hospital recently. i am almost sure of what i have done wrong now in trying to help my daughter and even more aware now of what to do. I am from Africa and there are some foods that we don’t have nevertheless this has been very informative and helpful.

God Bless you
thx!

[…] After working so hard taking out the not so good stuff, I read more and more on the importance of replacing good in its place! […]