For those who suffer from food allergies, new hope could be on the horizon in the form of a common dietary component. A new study has found that eating foods high in fiber and vitamin A could strengthen your immune system and help to fight off those pesky allergies.
In a report published in the journal Cell Reports, researchers from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute shared their belief that a lack of fiber in the diet could be the cause of the recent rise in food allergies worldwide. A simple addition of oatmeal, apples, apricots, and other high-fiber foods to the diet could be essential to strengthening the part of the immune system that fights off potentially life-threatening allergies.
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Study author Jian Tan and his colleagues tested their theory by feeding a high-fiber diet to mice that exhibited a peanut allergy. It appeared that the additional fiber managed to reshape the microbiomes in the animals' guts and colons, reducing their risk of an allergic outbreak. The gut bacteria broke down the extra fiber into fatty acids, giving a boost to the immune system's dendritic cells, which are responsible for managing the body's responses to allergens.
While the study authors write that "the exact mechanism whereby oral tolerance is maintained, or lost, remain unclear," they do believe oral allergies can be stopped short starting in the gut. Also essential to the prevention of allergies is vitamin A, which dendritic cells require and is available in plenty of fibrous fruits and veggies. "We report that dietary fiber together with vitamin A plays a key role in promoting CD103+ DC function, oral intolerance, and protection from food allergy," they wrote. In simpler terms: eating your veggies could ward off other serious food ailments.
Though this test was limited to those with a peanut allergies, Tan's findings could mean a natural, edible, and holistic approach to warding off all potential food intolerances. In other words, an apple a day keeps the allergies away.