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The Allergy Epidemic: Is Your Gut to Blame?


medically reviewed by Dr Godmi Tresa

Dr. Bhavya

Updated on October 17, 2023

Do you ever feel like your allergies are holding you, hostage, dictating what you can eat, where you can go, and how you can breathe? If yes, then you're not alone. 

Allergic disorders are rising, affecting millions worldwide, and even being classified as one of the "three major diseases of the 21st century" by the World Health Organization. 

But did you know that the solution to your allergy woes might be hiding in plain sight? 

That's right, your gut – The unsung hero of your body – May be the key to unlocking a healthier, allergy-free life. 

So if you're ready to break free from the chains of allergies, let's get started!

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Allergies and the Gut Microbiome: 

What is an Allergy?

Allergies can be the bane of many of our existences. They can turn a lovely spring day into a snotty, itchy, sneezy mess. But what exactly are allergies?

Well, allergies are a type of immune system reaction to something that is typically harmless, like pollen, dust mites, or certain foods. 

Our immune system is designed to protect us from harmful invaders like viruses and bacteria, but sometimes it can mistake harmless substances for threats and go into overdrive.

The result? A whole range of symptoms like sneezing, itching, difficulty breathing, swelling, and even anaphylactic shock.

But allergies have a lot to say about your gut microbiota!

What is Gut Microbiota?

Our bodies have three types of microbes - good, bad, and neutral.

The good guys help us stay healthy, while pathogenic bacteria can harm us. Neutral bacteria can switch between being good or bad depending on the situation.

These little microbes also help keep our organs healthy, control how our immune system responds, and protect our intestines from damage. 

It's essential to balance these microbes for a healthy immune system. 

When this balance of gut bugs is disrupted, it's called dysbiosis, which can lead to immune disorders like allergies. 

Keeping them happy and healthy could help prevent and manage allergies.

What could cause this dysbiosis?

Studies show that the rise in the prevalence of allergies in recent years may be due to modern lifestyle factors, including 

  • Super hygiene

The changes in our environment and diet can affect the balance of microorganisms in our skin, gut, and lungs. This can lead to an increased risk of allergies. It also suggests that if you're getting fewer infections as kids, it could be causing more allergies. 

  • Frequent use of antibiotics, 
  • Reduced family size, 
  • Altered eating habits
  • Urbanisation, and 
  • Limited contact with nature.

The link between gut health and allergies has become an increasingly popular topic in the scientific community. 

Studies have shown that individuals with allergies have a different gut microbiome composition than those without allergies, with lower levels of certain types of bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. 

Can Seasonal Allergies Cause Poor Gut Health?


Seasonal allergies and gut health are closely related!

Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, are commonly associated with sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion. 

However, some people may also experience stomach upset due to their seasonal allergies.

Symptoms of stomach upset due to seasonal allergies can include;

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort.

These symptoms may be caused by several factors related to allergies, such as:

  • Swallowing mucus: 

When you have allergies, your body produces more mucus than usual. Swallowing this excess mucus can cause stomach upset.

  • Inflammation: 

Allergies can cause inflammation throughout the body, including in the digestive tract. This inflammation can lead to abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhoea.

  • Medications: 

Some allergy medications can have gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea.

  • Cross-reactivity: 

In some cases, seasonal allergies can cause cross-reactivity with certain foods, causing stomach upset or other allergic reactions.

  • Stress or anxiety related to their symptoms: 

This can sometimes manifest in gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, or changes in bowel movements.

Prevent stomach upset caused by seasonal allergies by trying the following strategies:

  • Avoid allergens: 

Avoid exposure to allergens that trigger your allergies, such as pollen, dust mites, or mould.

  • Take allergy medications as prescribed: 

If you're taking them, follow the instructions carefully and take them as prescribed.

  • Manage stress: 

Stress can worsen allergy symptoms and may also contribute to stomach upset. Try to manage your stress levels through relaxation techniques, exercise, or other methods.

  • Stay hydrated: 

Drinking plenty of water can help alleviate symptoms of stomach upset and can also help thin mucus secretions.

  • Eat a healthy diet: 

Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help support your immune system and may also help reduce inflammation.

Food Allergy and Gut Health

Food allergies can wreak havoc on digestion in several ways. 

When someone with a food allergy eats food, they're allergic to, their immune system releases histamine and other chemicals that cause inflammation in the digestive tract. 

This inflammation can lead to various digestive symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating, constipation, and acid reflux.

In some cases, food allergies can also lead to eosinophilic esophagitis, where eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) accumulate in the oesophagus, causing inflammation and damage to the tissue.

This can lead to difficulty swallowing, chest pain, and food stuck in the oesophagus.

Now you know all about the different types of allergies and how it affects your gut health and vice-versa.

And it is time to learn how to train your gut bugs to help protect you- Naturally! 

But these allergies can be different for different people. 

You must learn which allergy affects you(or your loved ones).

Allergies in Ayurveda

Different factors can cause allergies and can result in various reactions in the body. Some people may experience respiratory and nasal allergies from inhaling allergens, while others may experience gastrointestinal disorders or hives from food allergens.

The causes of allergies vary from person to person. They can be due to genetic factors, sudden intolerance to a substance, weak immune system, accumulation of toxins, or individual body constitution. 

However, Ayurvedic therapies can help alleviate allergy symptoms regardless of the cause.

Let's Talk Food: What to Eat and What to Avoid to Manage Your Allergies

What Does Ayurveda Say?

Ayurveda, the Holistic Indian system of medicine, emphasises the importance of maintaining a healthy gut for overall well-being, including preventing allergies.

Here are some Ayurvedic practices that can support a healthy gut microbiome and prevent allergies:

Follow a Seasonal Diet: 

Ayurveda recommends eating seasonal and locally grown foods, as they are fresher and contain the nutrients needed for that particular season.

Eating foods that are in season can also help balance the body's natural rhythms and prevent allergies.

Use Spices: 

Ayurveda uses spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, and ginger in cooking, which add flavour and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help reduce allergies.

Practise Mindful Eating:

Ayurveda emphasises the importance of eating mindfully in a calm and peaceful environment without distractions. 

This helps improve digestion and absorption of nutrients, leading to a healthier gut.

Include Probiotics in Your Diet: 

Ayurveda recommends consuming fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, and pickles, which contain beneficial bacteria that can help support a healthy gut microbiome.

Practise Yoga and Meditation: 

Stress can negatively affect the gut microbiome, so Ayurveda recommends practising yoga and meditation to reduce stress and promote relaxation, leading to a healthier gut and a lower risk of allergies.

Following these Ayurvedic practices can support a healthy gut microbiome and reduce the risk of allergies while promoting overall health and well-being.

Here are a few Ayurvedic herbs that can help prevent allergies

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Take Triphala powder or tablets with warm water before bedtime to help improve digestion and promote detoxification.


Consume Haritaki powder with honey or warm water to help balance the Doshas, remove toxins from the body and improve digestion.


Drink Amalaki juice or consume raw fruit to boost immunity and reduce inflammation.


Take Bibhitaki powder or tablets with warm water to help regulate digestion and reduce inflammation.


Add Haridra (turmeric) to your diet by including it in your cooking or taking turmeric supplements. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce allergy symptoms.


Drink Nimba (neem) juice or consume raw leaves to improve digestion and boost immunity.


Consume Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) in tablets or drink Guduchi tea to help reduce inflammation and improve digestion.


Drink Tulsi tea or add Tulsi leaves to your food to improve digestion and boost immunity.

It is essential to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before taking these herbs or supplements, as they may interact with other medications or cause side effects.

Understand Your Allergy Type and Eat Accordingly.

There are three types of allergies, according to Ayurveda.

Type of allergySkinRespiratory systemGut SymptomsOthers
Vata Type of Allergy


Continuous wheezing and sneezing

Dry cough


Abdominal discomfort and pain

Stomach cramps

Gurgling intestines

Intestinal colic


Tingling, mouth

Swelling of the lips, tongue, and face


Dry eyes

Joint pain

Muscle spasms


PittaType of Allergy

Hives, rashes, eczema.


Inflammation of the respiratory tract 


Heartburn, upset stomach, indigestion, and vomiting.


Burning and reddish eyes.


Kapha Type of Allergy 

Nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, irritation of the mucus membranes.

Hay fever, sinus infection, asthma, bronchial congestion.


Heaviness in the stomach and sluggish digestion.


Water retention.

Sleeping disorders.



Type of AllergyFood to eatFood to limit
Vata Type Allergy
  • Ginger tea with honey
  • Licorice tea
  • Cooked vegetables 
  • Rice pudding
  • Bananas
  • Hot cereals
  • Root vegetables
  • Pureed soups.


  • Broccoli, 
  • Cabbage, 
  • Cauliflower, 
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Most Beans 
Pitta Type Allergy
  • Coriander, 
  • Cilantro, 
  • Gooseberry, and 
  • Neem.
  • Clarified butter or ghee
  • Pasta, 
  • Oats, 
  • Beans, and 
  • Potatoes
  • Apples, 
  • Cucumber, 
  • Soft cheese


  • Eggs, 
  • Hard cheese, 
  • Nuts, 
  • Olives, 
  • Sour cream
  •  Pineapple,
  • Pickles
  • Vinegar.


Kapha Type Allergy
  • Teas blended with ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Green/black tea 


  • Junk food and sweets
  • Heavy and oily food
  • Caffeine
  • Wheat
  • Cheese
  • Flour
  • Bread
  • Red meat
  • Pasta
  • Cold or frozen foods 
  • Carbonated beverages

When to Consult a Doctor?

Allergies can be a serious matter, and it's essential to seek medical attention if you suspect that you have one.

Symptoms such as hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, and dizziness require immediate medical attention.

Even if your symptoms are less severe but still troubling, seeing a doctor for evaluation and diagnosis is essential.

A doctor can perform tests to confirm whether you have a food allergy or intolerance and can guide how to manage your symptoms and avoid triggering foods.

It's essential to consult a doctor if you have been diagnosed with a food allergy and are experiencing difficulty managing your symptoms or have multiple food allergies or other medical conditions that complicate your allergies.

Allergic reactions can have serious complications, such as anaphylaxis, a sudden and rapidly progressing allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.

Respiratory distress and cardiac arrest are also potential complications of severe allergic reactions. Taking allergies seriously and seeking medical attention to prevent these dangerous complications is crucial.

In conclusion, allergies can significantly impact our daily lives, but we can manage and prevent them with the right approach. A healthy gut microbiome is critical in preventing allergies, and incorporating Ayurvedic herbs and practices can help support gut health and boost the immune system. Consulting a doctor if experiencing severe symptoms is essential, as allergies can lead to life-threatening complications. By caring for our gut health and overall well-being, we can reduce the risk of allergies and live healthier lives.

Consult Ayurveda practitioners at Nirva Health to know how to improve your gut health and immune system using traditional Ayurvedic methods.

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