You may have read about how dietary fiber prevents many health issues such as heart diseases and high blood pressure apart from unwanted weight gains. Now some new research is showing that dietary fiber may also help you if you are allergic to certain foods. These finding are boon to people who suffer from various allergies.
Here are two surprising findings from some recent research on allergies.
1. Fiber can prevent or reduce the incidences of food allergies.
2. Antibiotics can increase allergies.
How Fiber May Prevent Allergies
Many studies are taking place on food allergies and often there are new theories on how allergies happen. There is a strange link between how fiber and allergy prevention. Dietary fiber cannot be digested by humans. In fact plant based foods which cannot be digested by humans are defined as fibers.
Fiber we eat gets passed on to the colon where different kinds of bacteria are present. These bacteria have the enzymes to digest the fiber which we lack. During the process of bacteria working on the fiber, short chain fatty acids are produced. These fatty acids are responsible for prevention of allergies. This was one of the findings at Monash University, Australia.
Although the primary research has been done on mice, what the researchers found was a link between higher amount of good bacteria had directly link to increase immunity from allergies. This means that the chances are more that the research can be applicable for humans also.
Why Allergies Happen
Millions of people all over the world suffer from different kinds of allergies and somehow it is increasing every year. As per Food Allergy Research & Education allergies have increased by 50 percent from 1997 to 2011. More than 90 percent of people are allergic for foods such as : wheat, eggs, peanuts, nuts, soy, prawns and some fishes.
Why people are allergic to these foods is still not clear. One of the theories is that these foods do not gets digested entirely and passes to the gut mostly undigested. From there when it is absorbed into the blood stream, our body’s immune system may think of the compounds from these foods as threat and attack them. The response to these compound manifests as allergies.
Some Possible Reasons
Some of the modern foods which were not so prevalent even half a century ago are thought to be some of the reasons behind the increase in allergies. For example the consumption of sugar in various forms, fats and refined carbs have increase many folds. There has been enormous increase in the fried foods also. These foods have made us fat and also reduced our immunity.
Another reason is increase in antibiotics which are taken by people. Antibiotics are prescribed when we suffer from bacterial infections. Various types of antibiotics are used to kill bacteria which cause disease and infections. Unfortunately antibiotics also kill the good bacteria, apart from bad bacteria. The good bacteria are essential to us for digestive health and overall well being. This is the reason that when we take antibiotics we feel pain in abdomen or our appetite goes for a toss as many functions such as hunger and digestion are controlled by the good bacteria in our guts.
Good bacteria produce short chain fatty acids which form a layer in the gut and prevent the undigested allergic compounds from being absorbed into the blood stream. As you have seen above these short chain fatty acids are produced when the fiber in the food is digested by the enzymes present in the bacteria.
When the gut is in bad shape many compounds can leak into the blood. Where as healthy gut prevents the absorption. The conclusion is taking low fiber diet along with antibiotics will increase the chances of allergies while taking more fiber rich food and less antibiotics will reduce the chances of allergies. So increasing the gut bacteria through prebiotics can also help in treating allergies.
One of the studies found that kids who were allergic to peanuts, when treated with prebiotics, were able to eat peanuts without allergic reactions.
What Are Prebiotics
Prebiotics are fibers which can get passed on to the guts undigested. Since these are undigested that way they are available for bacteria, which can then break it down as food leading to increase in the population of healthy bacteria. Fructans and galacto-oligosachairdes (GOS) are two types of prebiotics.
How to Ensure That We Have More Prebiotics
Some of the foods which are good prebiotics are nuts such as pistachio, chickpeas, kidney beans, onion, garlic, beetroot, green peas, beans, nectarines, dates etc are some of the foods that can act as prebiotics. When you have more of these foods the healthy bacteria also increase in your body.
Increasing the good bacteria not only helps in allergies, but it also helps in increasing the absorption of minerals and improvement in immunity. These bacteria also help in decreasing inflammation, preventing colon cancer (according to some studies), and improving the blood glucose level to healthier levels.
You should note that all fibers are not prebiotics.
This study is one of the several studies, There may be several other factors behind allergies. You should also be careful about allergy which may be life threatening and consult your doctor before taking any remedial actions.
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