By Rene Verma
The other day, my husband declared during breakfast - 'I won't have sprouts any more. It makes my stomach feel funny.' I wondered how this "nutritious" do-gooder full of vitamins and minerals could make him uncomfortable. After sprouts, it was wheat or corn-based products that he complained about. He said all of them made him feel bloated. I decided to consult Dr Eti Bhalla, chief nutritionist, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon. What she told me came as a surprise - our blood type plays a big role in deciding the foods we may be compatible with or not. How does the blood group decide our compatibility with different foods? Explains Dr Peter D'Adamo, a well-known naturopath and creator of the Blood Type Diet: Each blood type has a unique composition of digestive enzymes that determines how the body will react to different food groups. Basically, your blood type has a distinct way of recognising what is "alien" for you. When the body perceives a threat from such an "alien", it reacts violently, often leading to a host of health problems.
Picky O Group
People with type O blood, like my husband, are more prone to stomach problems because of the high acidic content in the stomach. So while they can digest protein well, they have to be cautious about consuming too many fats or carbohydrates. They are also known to have a sluggish metabolism so they must exercise regularly and avoid grains and heavier oils made from corn or peanut. Fresh fruits such as berries, plums, bananas and pears are beneficial as they are "friendly" with the typical stomach enzymes of those who have type O blood.
Hardy B Group
Of the four basic types, people with type B blood have the most resilient digestive systems. They usually aren't overly sensitive to food choices. 'They are lucky that their bodies aren't averse to grains, meat or dairy. They should just aim at a balanced diet with lots of green vegetables - corn, lentils, tomatoes and peanuts are best avoided,' advises Dr Eti.
Sensitive A Group
On the other end of the spectrum are people with blood group A. Some studies suggest that these people have a low acidic content making it difficult for them to digest meat. Dr Eti says: 'This group has shown a tendency towards cardiac problems. So for them we recommend a vegetarian diet with restricted animal fat and dairy products - intake of plenty of fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Since they also have thicker blood, it's best for them to avoid fatty meat.'
Somewhere In The Middle - AB Group
This group combines the vulnerabilities of both A and B groups and falls in the sensitive zone. People with this blood type fare better with a diet that's more vegetarian in nature. Since they don't have enough stomach acid, they should - as far as possible - avoid dairy, alcohol, caffeine and citrus fruits.
On The Flip Side
Like most other diets, the Blood Group Diet has also attracted a fair share of cynicism from experts - it ignores other aspects that determine an individual's health: age, genetics, eating habits, food preferences (vegetarian/non-vegetarian) and so on. Dr Eti herself cautions against thinking of the principle on which this diet works as an absolute science. 'There is not enough scientific evidence to establish this as a wellaccepted practice. However, our personal experiences with patients indicate that the correlation of the blood group with the diet does have some bearing on a person's overall health and fitness levels.' This effect might not always translate in weight loss but in improved energy levels or a general feeling of wellbeing.
KNOW MORE: For a list of foodstuffs that fall into three categories: beneficial, neutral and avoidable for each blood type, refer to D'Adamo's book Eat Right 4 Your Type.
Reproduced From Good Housekeeping. © 2015. LMIL. All rights reserved.