High-fibre diet can help cut food allergies

A high-fibre diet rich in vitamin A may alter gut bacteria in a way that could prevent or reverse food allergies.This is the finding of a new study.Researchers say a high-fibre diet enriched with vitamin A shows promise for reducing the risk of food allergy.It is estimated that around 15 million people in the United States have food allergies, and this number is increasing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1997-2007, the number of children and adolescents in the U.S.with food allergies rose by around 18 percent, though the reasons for this are unclear.Eight food types account for around 90 percent of all food allergies.These are peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.

Allergic reactions to food vary from person to person, but they may include tingling or itching in the mouth, hives, nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhoea.In more severe cases, a person with a food allergy may experience swelling of the lips, tongue, and/or throat, shortness of breath, trouble swallowing, chest pain, and a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Occurrence of severe symptoms – alone or alongside milder ones – could be indicators of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction that requires immediate medical attention.Of course, the best way to avoid an allergic reaction to food is to avoid consuming the food that triggers it, though this can be easier said than done.

Now, a new study suggests there may be a simple way to prevent or reverse food allergies: a high-fibre diet, enriched with vitamin A.

Co-senior author Laurence Macia, of Monash University in Australia, and colleagues came to their conclusion after studying mice that were artificially bred to be allergic to peanuts.

The researchers fed some of the mice a high-fibre diet rich in vitamin A – found in many fruits and vegetables – while others were fed a diet with average fiber, sugar, and calorie content (the controls).


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