In food allergy, the immune response is generated, which produces an increase in Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody and activation of mast cells. The mast cells release histamine and produces an inflammatory reaction. This in turn causes symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, increased heart rate etc. In severe cases, the allergic reaction can cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
The most common food allergies are:
- Milk and milk products
- Tree nuts
In Ayurveda, it is said that the root cause of food allergy stems from a weak digestive fire and build-up of toxins throughout the body. Among the major causes of these toxins, improper food combination is also responsible.
In Ayurveda, food allergy, sensitivity and intolerance are listed under Asatmaya.
These are 8 most common types of food allergies. In Ayurveda, it is said that each dosha type is more susceptible to a particular food intolerance. For example, person having Vatadosha, known as Vishamagni will cause a negative reaction after eating non-vegetarian food such as meat etc. and causes bloating, gas and constipation.
If dosha and digestive fire is in the balanced state, then that particular food can be consumed without any negative effect.
- Common Vata Allergies, Sensitivities and Intolerances are due to protein, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale etc., nightshade plants such as tomato, potato, egg plant etc., refined sugar, processed foods, refined foods, preservatives, artificial dyes and colours.
- Common Pitta type allergies, sensitivities and intolerance are due to the intake of hot and spicy foods, yeast, peanuts, garlic and onion, sour and acidic foods, pork, red meat, salty foods, eggs, preservatives, additives and dyes.
- Common Kapha type allergies, sensitivities and intolerance are due to the intake of dairy products, wheat, grains, gluten, fatty substances, processed foods, additives, dyes and preservatives.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Food Allergies?
- Gas, bloating, gurgling, constipation
- Hyperacidity, GERD or heartburn
- Sleepiness, heaviness or lethargy
- Dull and foggy mind
- Asthma, wheezing and shortness of breath
- Leaky gut
Ayurvedic Treatment of Food Allergies
The Ayurvedic treatment of Food Allergies involves removing the cause of food allergies. The Ayurvedic treatment aims at increasing the digestive fire, palliating the specific symptoms, detoxifying the system, increasing ojas (immunity) and reducing inflammation.
1. Remove the main cause:-
- The first line of action of the treatment is to eliminate the root cause.
- Since most of the food allergies are hard to decipher, one should follow a strict elimination diet for three months.
2. Strengthening Agni (Digestive Fire):-
While eliminating the diet, it is also important to increase the digestive strength simultaneously. Agni helps in reducing the likelihood of the food intolerance.
Some of the ways to strengthen the digestive fire are:
- Lemon Water: Drinking hot lemon water each morning upon awakening helps in increasing the digestive fire.
- Taking ginger slice with rock salt before every meal helps in boosting up the digestive fire.
- Avoid taking food after 7 pm
- Avoid over-eating
- Avoid incompatible food combinations such as taking fruits with milk, milkshakes, non-vegetarian food with milk etc.
3. Eliminate all GMOs, processed foods, preservatives, additives and dyes:-
- The consumption of these foods weaken the digestive fire and contribute to food allergy and accumulation of toxins within the system.
- Our body does not recognize these food types and therefore cannot process them properly.
- This in turn creates a toxic waste in the system and leads to allergies and sensitivities.
- There are so many hidden ingredients in the packaged foods so these must be strictly avoided.
4. Detoxify the system:-
- Since many people with food allergies have been ingesting the intolerable foods for a long time therefore it is necessary to detox the system as toxins have been accumulated in the system. These toxins reduce the digestive fire and lead to more severe reactions to that food.
- For detoxification, take ½ – 1 tsp. of Triphala Churna each night before going to bed.
By utilizing the guidelines to proper food combination along with Ayurvedic treatment of food allergies, one can reduce the presence of Ama (toxins) in the body while balancing the agni (digestive fire) and therefore manage food allergies naturally without any side effects.