Have you ever had to quit a food that you loved simply because you had an allergy to it? For example, let’s say that you are a fan of strawberries or peanuts. You love them, but once you eat them, you can say hello to skin itches, swollen face and a continuous state of discomfort. We know your pain.
However, you don’t always have to live in fear that the next time you ingest that compound, your body will go all ‘tomato’ on you. Having a diet that is rich in fiber and vitamin A may affect the bacteria in your gut in a way that it could reverse or actually prevent food allergies. Since it is believed that 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from food allergies – with the number still increasing – it is recommended that people understand the importance of a fiber-high diet.
Understanding the Allergy
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), between 1997 and 2007, the percentage of allergies among children and teenagers rose by 18%. At the same time, it is not entirely certain what the reasons were for this outburst.
There are eight types of food that appear in 90% of food allergies, and these include peanuts, eggs, milk, tree nuts, wheat, fish, soy, and shellfish. The reactions may vary from individual to individual, but generally, these can include itching of the skin and mouth, nausea, and vomiting, hives, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Other, more severe symptoms of a food allergy may be a swelling of the tongue, lips, throat, trouble in swallowing, shortness of breath, chest pain, but also a sudden drop in your blood pressure. The most severe symptoms are usually a sign of anaphylaxis, a possible life-threatening reaction that will need urgent medical attention.
Preventing the Allergy
Indeed, the safest way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the trigger food altogether. However, this is easier said than done and you can always accidentally eat something which you will only later realize you’re allergic to.
Fortunately, there is new proof that suggests an allergic reaction can be prevented with a fiber-based diet that is rich in vitamin A. Research was made at the Monash University of Australia on mice that were bred artificially to be allergic to peanuts. Some were fed with meals high in fiber and rich in vitamin A while others only received the average quantities. The result was that the mice fed with a high-fiber intake experienced less allergic reactions than the other mice. Upon closer inspection of the ‘fiber mice’, they discovered that the bacteria in their gut was altered, thus protecting them against allergic reactions. The reason why fiber worked was because the bacteria in the gut reacted to the fiber substance, breaking it down into short-chain fatty acids responsible for allergy control.
If you know yourself prone to allergies, you might want to enrich your diet with fiber and vitamin A. It will help you lead a healthy lifestyle.