The number of people being diagnosed with asthma is increasing but it remains one of the most misunderstood diseases of our times. Did you know that many a times the medicines and bronchodilators prescribed to asthmatics to temporarily relieve the symptoms actually weaken the lungs over a period of time?
The author of The Asthma Cure, Tarika Ahuja, in this special piece, tells us about the foods detrimental for asthma.
In the medical dictionary asthma is described as “a respiratory condition marked by attacks of spasm in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. It is usually connected to allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity.”
Let’s breakdown this definition to understand what foods are detrimental for asthma and other respiratory disorders.
Spasm attacks! What are these? Spasms are involuntary muscle contractions. Really? Why would the chest muscles contract for certain people? What really is contraction?
On an energetic level, there are certain foods that are contracting and some are expanding. We need both kinds. What we don’t need is foods that are extremely contracting or extremely expanding. So the key to health is moderately expanding and moderately contracting foods. Foods that are extremely contracting are – meat, poultry and hard baked foods such as crackers and cookies/biscuits. All these foods have less hydration and hence a lesser relaxing effect on our body. They have a drying and slightly contracting effect on muscles and our body. Now when we say this – we are not claiming that a single biscuit or a cookie or a single meat dish will cause a spasm. Only when these are repeated regularly and often, this may slowly build up to a spasm attack.
- Foods detrimental for a spasm attack are meat, poultry, baked foods when consumed in excess or consumed daily/often.
- Foods good to relax spasmic muscle contractions are mildly sweet vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes etc. especially as pureed soups such as pumpkin-sweet potato soup or cauliflower onion/leek soup, barley and millet based dishes, hydrating vegetable dishes (2-3 per meal) and softly cooked foods such as khichadi and vegan risottos.
Most asthmatics have a tendency to have allergic reactions in these broad categories:
- Allergic reaction during the change of a season
- Allergic reaction to dust, mites, and pollution
- Allergic reaction to chemicals in household products
- Allergic reaction to chemicals and artificial food colours used in packaged foods and commercial bakeries
- Allergic reaction to specific foods such as wheat, nuts, shellfish or certain fruits
In today’s world, we need to understand allergy from a deeper perspective. Some people get allergies faster than others. This is usually because either they have a weak constitution (that is, inherited body type and condition) or they have weak blood chemistry. Our blood needs a PH balance of 7.4 and if we consume foods that have a high metabolic acid waste, then our blood PH gets affected and this makes one prone to allergic reactions. So as soon as you hear the word “allergy”, whatever kind it may be, the first thought that should come to your mind is – this person’s blood is more acidic and they need more alkaline foods and healthy fermented foods.
Unlike what is conventionally believed about allergies, it isn’t connected to a specific food at all, though the specific food may be a trigger. It is actually connected to the overall food combinations and foods consumed repeatedly that make the blood weak and more prone to allergic reactions.
Foods that weaken the blood quality are white sugar, white bread, refined and packaged foods, store bought or restaurant foods, or too much spice.
If we can make our blood stronger and more alkaline and our gut healthier, then we will naturally be less prone to allergic reactions. This is 50% of the battle won or we could say this is 50% of the symptom of allergic reactions reduced. The remaining 50% depends on a few others factors such as metal toxicity, lack of fibre, lack of fresh oxygen and circulation due to lack of exercise, strong chemical intake directly though food or through the skin (from cosmetics) or breathe (environment – home or industrial), lack of essential minerals.
- Foods detrimental to for allergic reaction are white sugar, refined flour, chemical preservatives in packaged foods, commercial bakery foods, restaurant foods, very spicy foods.
- Foods good to reduce allergic reactions are holy basil (tulsi), ginger, turmeric, dark coloured foods such as kala channas, black rice, dark leafy greens, home-fermented foods such as dosa, idli, miso, oil-less pickles (many recipes in my new book – THE ASTHMA CURE) etc.
Hypersensitivity happens when the internal body condition is inflamed (which literally means swollen internal organs) and when there is excessive amounts of emotional, mental or financial stress.
It is now commonly known that inflammation is a precursor to most modern diseases. Inflammation – swelling redness within our body. What would cause this and what would prevent this? Inflammation is predominantly caused by white sugar (big culprit!), night shade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes and peppers except for black pepper), hydrogenated or poor quality oil intake, environmental toxins, emotional stress and lack of exercise.
Now just imagine for a minute – if anyone has inflammation, then they would and could easily get irritable or reactive – be it with an unwanted chemical or food item or with unwanted mental thoughts or emotional stress.
When the digestion loses its healthy coating, lining or the gut loses it’s health-giving microorganisms, then also a person may be prone to hyper sensitivity.
We as a human being have a certain amount of energy to sustain our health, bodily functions, exercise routine, work and important relationships in life. If in anyway, there is lack/deficiency or stress in one of these areas then it eats into the energy stored for other areas. Making daily efforts to improve all areas in life also helps to improve health and reduce hypersensitivity (physical or mental).
One of the best antidotes to inflammation is exercise and yogic breathing. Improving circulation and the supply of oxygen to all our cells and tissues helps to remove toxic build-up and replace these with fresh clean blood and energy. This helps maintain a strong immune function.
- Foods detrimental to hypersensitivity are white sugar, night shade vegetables, sometimes even certain very sweet fruits, and refined oils etc.
- Foods good to reduce hypersensitivity are well cooked whole grains, softly cooked whole beans and lentils, turmeric, curry leaf, amla, healthy alkaline warm-hot beverages, gourd family vegetables (such as torai, lauki, karela, tindaa etc.), ashwagandha, blackseed oil, spirulina, etc.
Asthma is a curable disease. This is the primary reason Tarika Ahuja chose to write The Asthma Cure and she hopes to work as an asthma revolutionary through workshops and awareness campaigns in order to break the myth that it is incurable.