Food Allergy (Aaharaasatmyata)
विरुद्धं ……………………………………….l l
Food Allergy - Aaharaasatmyata
Food Allergy refers to the hypersensitivity reaction of body towards various types of food stuffs. The major etiology of food related ailments are incompatible food habits or incorporation of foreign and unfamiliar food. The food allergies may show minor or acute symptoms. Even ifindividuals feel some discomforts after consumption of certain food,it may notbe countedas a food allergy.AaharaAsatmyata or Virudha is the term mentioned in Ayurveda to denote Food Intolerance or Food Allergy. Dr. Gupta’s IAFA suggests to take a detailed examination with an Ayurvedic allergy specialist for understanding the root cause behind ailment. IAFA ensureseffective treatment in various food allergies.
Most people think that the food they eat is the culpritof food allergies. If someone has allergy to some food and if they assume that its treatment is to “Just avoid that Food”, it is not the correct way of management. The “Culprit is not Food; the Culprit is Human Being itself”. The way humans do genetic mutation to crops, the way humans are using pesticides or herbicides, the way humans are using preservatives, the way humans are eating unnatural or synthetic foods, the way of cooking they had adopted like microwaves etc. are the major causes for food related discomforts. The most common among them is to have food combinations which are incompatible like dairy products with meat, milk with sea-foods etc.
Causes of Food Allergy
An allergy is caused when body’s immune system is inappropriately activated. The immune system is formulated to attack bacteria, viruses, parasites etc. Sometimes, body’s immune system reacts to certain food items. This is called “food allergy” or “food intolerance.”When the immune system is activated, antibodies or immunoglobulin are produced against antigen or allergen. Antigen-Antibodies reaction in turn triggers an inflammatory response. Inflammation causes pain and tissue damage, leading to increased mucous production. Further, symptoms like rash, itching, or severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis may occur.
When a food eaten is broken down and absorbed by gastrointestinal system, it is distributed through bloodstream to all body tissues. Therefore an allergic reaction can occur just anywhere in the vascular body.
Ayurveda suggests that the reasons for food allergy include intake of incompatible food items, unfamiliar food, improperly cooked food, untimely food etc. Ayurveda outlines a number of foods that on combination may become unhealthy and ill effecting. Combinations of some rasa are incompatible like madhura (sweet) with amla (sour), madhura with tikta (bitter) etc.
Causes of food allergy are divided into three parts as per dosha dominance:
- Vatarelated reasons in Food Allergy –Vata gets aggravated in Vata dominant body type people by consuming spicy, dry, bitter, astringent, raw and cold food items.
- Pitta related reason in Food Allergy– Pitta gets aggravated in Pitta dominant body Type people by consuming excessive spicy, sour, salty, fermented, deep fried food items, raw vegetables, etc.
- Kapha related reason in Food Allergy– Kapha gets aggravated in Kapha dominant body type people by consuming excess milk products, excess sweets, sour, salty, cucumber, watermelon, cold items.
Ayurvedic Reference of Food Allergy- AaharaAsatmyata
Classification of Food Allergy
Any food can cause an adverse reaction. But according to the International Standards, eight types of food are considered as the reason for about 90 percent of food allergy events. They are:
- Tree Nuts
Certain seeds, including sesame and mustard seeds (the main ingredient in the condiment mustard) are also common food allergy triggers and are considered as major food allergens in India.
In Ayurveda, on the basis of dosha dominance, food allergies are classified into:
- Vata Related Food Allergy
- Pitta Related Food Allergy
- Kapha Related Food Allergy
Symptoms of Food Allergy
Mostly food allergy symptoms occur within two or three hours of ingestion or often start within minutes in some patients. Delayed reactions by four-six hours or even longer are typically seen in children who develop eczema or any other skin related ailment as a symptom. Some common symptoms that can help to diagnose food allergies are:
- Vomiting and stomach cramps
- Hives and angioedema
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing sound in lungs
- Low blood pressure
- Shock or circulatory collapse
- Throat congestion; difficulty during swallowing
- Repetitive cough
- Repetitive cough
- Swelling of the tongue, difficulty during talk
- Weak pulse
- Pale or blue coloring of skin (Cyanosis)
- Dizziness or feeling faint
- Anaphylaxis – a potentially life-threatening reaction
- Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) – a severe gastrointestinal reaction.
Symptoms of Food Allergy according to Ayurveda are explained on the basis of type dosha vitiation.
- Vata Related Signs in Food Allergy:bloating stomach, flatulence, nerve pain, tingling sensation, loss of sleep, twitching muscles, joint’s pain.
- Pitta Related Signs in Food Allergy:Urticaria, allergic dermatitis, eczema, diarrhea, and pustule formation.
- Kapha Related Signs in Food Allergy: Asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, rhinitis, cold, cough, sleeping disorders.
“Our digestive system is designed to work on wholesome and compatible food. The food that we eat determines our state of health and Illness. Use of unfamiliar and unaccustomed food items will disturb our digestive system and results in various allergic manifestations. Have a healthy diet and own a healthy life. IAFA is always at your help for the prevention as well as management of all types of Food Allergies”.
IAFA holds your hand for an allergy free and healthy life !
-Allergist, Dr. Sahil Gupta
Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine & Surgery
Master’s in Health Administration
Ayurvedic Concept Of Food Allergy (Aahar Asatmya)
The term Satmya is used in Ayurveda which means tolerance to anything. The term used Asatmya means Intolerance to something. Satmya and Asatmya towards any food, weather or any habit is basic principle in terms of food allergy in Ayurveda. Thus Aahar Asatmya term in Ayurveda is a defined as Food Intolerance or Food Allergy. Asatmya is a result of weak digestive fire or agni. Body’s digestive fire (agni) becomes weak due to ama visha (toxin) formation in the body because of imbalance in body doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha are life forces). Maximum allergic problems are common in people whose body contains ama visha (toxins) in the body. Aam visha the hard rock that originates first and then gradually accumulates in your body is due to ingestion of food in inadequate combination that is asatmya aahar.
Adequate Food Combination the Ancient Eating Principle of Ayurveda
The digestive tract and immune system are interlinked, adequate food combination (historical as per Ayurveda principles) can provide essential support by helping us to improve digestive health, which in turn can improve immune health.
Ayurveda divides Food (Ras) Tastes into two Group 1 and Group 2 as below:
Food (ras) six tastes of tongue
1. MADHURA (SWEET)- like sugar, honey, sugarcane juice, rice, wheat, milk and fruits like mango
4. KATU (PUNGENT)- like Chili pepper, and black pepper ,spices such as mustard, ginger, garlic and onion
2. AMLA (SOUR)- Citrus fruits like limes, lemons and oranges, sour cream, yogurt, vinegar & fermented food.
5. TIKTA (BITTER)- like bitter gourd and bitter melon, Herbs like neem.
3. LAVANA (SALTY)- Sea salt, rock salt and table salt
6. KASHAYA (ASTRINGENT)- like Unripe banana, chickpeas, alum and okra.
Ayurveda outlines a number of foods that, while perhaps fine to eat individually. The three ras of same group 1 madhur, amla and lavan are incompatible to eat with one another like madhura with amla and are compatible to eat with another three ras of different group 2 katu, tikta and kashya like madhura with tikta. Inadequate combination (virudha aahar) of ras (food) leads to food allergies. That’s the ancient principle of aahar-vihar of ayurveda.
Diet in Food Allergy
- Consume properly cooked food
- Drink sufficient quantity of water
- Includebitter,mildly spicy food.
- Consume warm and fresh food.
- Include herbal tea with ginger, cumin and lemon in diet
- Use warm water for drinking and external use
- Take food on time
- Avoid bathing just after food
- Include fruits and vegetables in diet
- Mild exercises (Eg: Brisk walk 20 minutes/day)
- Adequate sleep
- Proper toweling after head bath
- Working atmosphere should be open and or properly ventillated
- Excessively spicy, salty and sour food
- Fermented food
- Cold and refrigerated food
- Diary products like cheese, milk, yoghurt.
- Avoid excess of sweet, sour, salty tastes
- Day sleep
- Late night work
- Junk food
- Regular restaurant food
- Fried and bakery food
- Mixture of different types of food
- Mixture of non-vegetarian food with milk and other sweet items
- Alcohol consumption
- Cigarette smoking
- Raw food
- Travelling to places with high humidity
- Having food before digesting previous meal
- Sedentary life style without exercise
- Mental stress
- Regular use of A/C room
Yoga and Pranayamain Food Allergy
Yoga is an effective stress management technique that helps to get relaxed and to achieve control over mind and emotions. Yogaregulatesbody’s immune system that controlsvarious allergic reactions. Following yoga procedures are especially beneficial in Food Allergy:
Ayurvedic Treatment for Food Allergy
Ayurveda has effective treatment for allergies caused by various food items. The Ayurvedic treatment protocol is unique and it includes various procedures and medicines used internally as well as externally. A combined therapy of all these ensures complete cure from allergic reactions.
Following medicines can be advised in food allergy according to the condition of the patient.
Following medicines can be given for external procedures. Medicines and their method of use depend on condition of patient as well as stage of allergy.
Various procedures as explained below can be administered in patients suffering from food allergy as and when required.
- Lepana (Application of medicinal paste)
- Abhyanga (Oil massage)
- Dhara (Pouring medicated water)
- Kshalana (Washing with medicated liquids)
- Swedana (Sweating therapy)
Various purification procedures are done based on the age and health status of each patient. Purification therapies help to expel vitiated doshas and toxins from the body. They include:
- Vamana (Emesis)
- Virechana (Purification)
- Vasti (Enema)
- Raktamoksha (Blood-letting)
- Nasya (Nasal administration of medicines)
Single Herbs in Food Allergy
Judicious use of various medicinal herbs helps in the management of various allergic reactions. Following are some single herbs that are proved to have tremendous effect in the management of Food Allergy.
- Haridra (Curcuma longa)
- Khadira (Acacia catechu)
- Raktachandana (Pterocarpussantalinus)
- Aragwatha (Cassis fistula)
- Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhizaglabra)
- Guduchi (Tinosporacordifola)
- Sirisha (Albezialebbeck)
- Punarnava (Boerhaviadiffusa)
- Manjishta (Rubiacordfolia)
- Nimba (Azadirachtaindica)
Article Written By: Dr. Sahil Gupta, Ayurvedic Allergist