If you have a child or grandchild with a serious food allergy, you know how frightening it can be.
Just one mislabeled meal at a restaurant — or a shared snack in the school cafeteria — can turn into a dangerous situation fast.
But now researchers from Australia may have found a way to stop potentially deadly allergic reactions before they ever start.
It’s not a pill or a shot. It’s just one simple diet change you can start making today.
Although anyone can have a food allergy, children are twice as likely as adults.
And that’s scary, because we all know kids aren’t always careful about what they eat.
That’s what makes this new research out of Monash University in Australia so important — and potentially life-saving.
Researchers bred a group of mice to have severe allergies to peanuts — the same allergies that cause deaths and hospitalizations every single year.
But once the mice were fed a diet rich in fiber, they became much less sensitive to peanuts. And their allergic reactions were a lot more mild.
And if you have a young person in your life who is allergic to peanuts, I bet that sounds awfully good.
Incorporating more fiber into our diets is easy. Lots of the foods we eat every day, like peas, raspberries, apples, and even oatmeal are loaded with it.
These fibers get broken down into short-chain fatty acids in our guts. And those fatty acids boost our production of something called dendritic cells.
And here’s why that’s important — it’s actually those dendritic cells that determine whether you have an allergic reaction or even go into anaphylactic shock. In fact, a lot of the immunotherapy research that’s been conducted to treat allergies has focused on these dendritic cells.
Vitamin A is also important for producing dendritic cells, so it’s important to get enough of it. Fortunately, some foods that are high in vitamin A also have fiber, like carrots, dark, leafy greens, lettuce, and even apricots.
So, basically, a diet that’s heavy on fibers with vitamin A can help your immune system work properly. And it may keep you — or a child you love — from rushing to a hospital or for an EpiPen injection the next time you eat something you shouldn’t.
The next step is going to be human trials. But if you ask me, there’s no reason to wait. There’s no downside to loading up on fiber and vitamin A now, and incorporating more foods that are rich in both into your meals.
If you know someone in your life with a serious food allergy (or who has a child with one) please take a moment to forward this email to them.
Just this one small change may make a big difference in controlling allergies — and it could even save some lives.
“Diet high in fiber and vitamin A key to preventing allergies to peanuts and other triggers” Monash University, June 21, 2016, Eurekalert, eurekalert.org