Allergies could be prevented by more fibre

A lack of fibre in our diets may be causing the deadly rise in allergies, say Australian researchers. A Monash University study focussed on food safety research has found evidence to support the linkage that a diet lacking in fibre might be the cause of allergies, where more fibre could prevent allergies. The scientists at Monash discovered that eating a diet rich in fibre has the potential to shape the immune system, whereby reducing allergies to substances that have a very high allergic reaction rate in the community, namely peanuts. The researchers found that consuming a  bowl of bran and some dried apricots in the morning could prevent allergies.

Essentially, bacteria in our gut can be changed by eating a high fibre diet. This added fibre helps to generate more ‘good bacteria’ that assists our immune system to resist allergies by the breakdown of fibre into short chain fatty acids. The boosting of dendritic cells, a subset of the immune system, was noticed when a high fibre diet was introduced. These cells help to control whether or not an allergic response is experienced in responses to a particular food allergen. These specialised cells require vitamin A, which can also only be obtained through food intake, in particular, one that is high in vegetables and fruits.

This research has only been conducted on mice with peanut allergies, where they were fed a high fibre diet to assess if more fibre could prevent allergies. The main scientist, PhD student Jian Tan highlighted that human trials would need to occur in order to confirm if a high fibre diet could help people with allergies. Almost three per cent of children have a peanut allergy, which can have extremely rapid symptoms and effects, and in some cases, fatal side affects. There are multiple studies being conducted world wide in an effort to better understand food hygiene standards and improve food safety standards and techniques regarding the prevention of commonly identified bacterial infections and allergic responses.



Fibre in a bowl