Sujal Torgal Patil
As discussed in the last segment, an allergy itself is not a disease. It is an abnormal immunological response that can result in a disease like asthma, eczema, urticaria, conjunctivitis, skin rashes, etc. An allergic reaction is the negative response produced in the body to a certain external factor which is known as an allergen. Usually an individual reacts similarly to that allergen throughout their life or there are certain allergies which can come up or stop with the lapse of time.
A continued allergy can further get complicated into a status of hypersensitivity or even autoimmunity. Therefore, it is important to address the basic immune response itself before it becomes complicated and thereby difficult to manage.
Although it is a common notion to avoid the specific allergen (edible), it is important to avoid all inflammatory foods in the initial stage of management.
What should one consume?
Cereals: Rice and wheat that has been aged for at least a year is good for daily consumption. One can opt for rice cooked in an open vessel over pressure-cooked rice. Adding a pinch of crushed ginger makes digestion easier. Wheat flour can be dry roasted for a few minutes if you think you have gluten allergy. Barley, jowar and ragi can be consumed occasionally.
Vegetables: One can consume various vegetables but should not cook them with oil. Opt for bitter vegetables and gourds. Roots and tubers like carrot, beetroot, radish and sweet potato should be cooked and consumed (not raw). Avoid raw salads and opt for steamed or boiled vegetables instead. Potatoes should be steamed, boiled or roasted.
Pulses: For daily consumption choose green gram over yellow gram. Gram shouldn’t be cooked with oil. Small quantities of cooked coconut can be added to the gram.
Beverages: Light black tea, green tea or coffee can be consumed. Avoid adding milk.
Dry roasted cereals in the form of popcorn (rice, maize or corn) can be had as snacks.
To make foods easily digestible add spices like cumin, mustard, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, asafoetida, coriander, etc.
Always drink boiled water as it improves one’s metabolism. Filtered or even RO water should be boiled.
Always consume warm and freshly cooked food.
What should one avoid?
Avoid oil, ghee, vegetable fats or margarine until the metabolical status does not become optimum.
All types of bakery products like bread, biscuits, patties, cakes, pastries, etc. (One can eat whole wheat bread occasionally. It should not contain yeast, additives, oil or butter.)
Milk and other dairy products like buttermilk, curds, yoghurt, mayonnaise, khoa, casein, milk drinks, lassi, ice creams, desserts, butter, cheese, etc.
All products prepared from refined flours like noodles, pasta, spaghetti, etc.
Condiments: Pickles, fries, vinegar, condiments, sauces, jams, vinegar, raw mango, tamarind, excess salt in food.
All deep fried and fermented food products
All fruits (except pomegranate), nuts, dry fruits, raw, tender or dried coconut.
Black gram, sprouted beans and raw salads.
Frozen, cold, refrigerated and stale food.
Carbonated drinks, readymade juices, alcohol, wines, beer, etc. One should avoid having cold or room temperature water.
Avoid non-vegetarian foods (meats, fish and eggs) for a few days.
It is important to make a few drastic changes in the diet. One should have meals only when hungry. One should not overeat or suppress hunger.
At least 7 hours sleep on a daily basis is necessary. Avoid excessive sleeping, especially during the day.
Exercise daily according as per your capacity but in well ventilated spaces. Avoid exercising after having meals. Avoid having bath after having meals. All these activities hamper the process of digestion and lead to metabolites in the body. Go for a short walk regularly in the morning on an empty stomach.
Yoga and pranayam
Yogic cleansing procedures help clear the channels by removing accumulated dirt and reduce the frequency of attacks. Example: Nadi shodhan pranayam with jala and sutra neti help cure allergic rhinitis or sinusitis. Meditative techniques help one calm down and reduce stress which in turn eases the agitated immune system.
Why such a stringent module?
An allergic response is a message from the immune system that suggests something is wrong in the body at a deeper level. It starts from a simpler form (inflammation) and can become a severe autoimmune disorder if left untreated. Therefore, initial stringent management will not correct an allergic reaction but will one away from metabolic and hormonal disorders like diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, PCOD and other hormonal disorders.
An allergy is our body’s way of indicating the rising intolerance towards a hazardous lifestyle. It is therefore not surprising to see the numerous allergies these days. It is possible to treat these dreadful reactions if we ponder upon the root of an allergy!
(Writer is CMO at Traya Natural Health Centre and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)