Does gut health protect against food allergies?
The health of our gut and how it may affect our wellbeing is being talked about a lot.
That’s because our gut bacteria (microbiome) influences our health in many ways.
Having a high diversity of good bacteria in our intestine system promotes better digestion, keeps our immune system healthy, affects how we store fat, controls our blood pressure and regulates our mood through the release of serotonin and dopamine.
But perhaps our microbiome does more than that?
It appears that the absence of certain types of gut bacteria may also cause food allergies. Scientists found that children with food allergies are missing certain species of bacteria in their gut environment.
A 2018 study looking at food allergies around the world shows it affects about 10% of the population, mostly children and the occurrence is rising in developing countries.
Can this be due to changing diets?
From our previous blog: ‘What should I eat for a healthy gut?’ we find that we should avoid too much sugar, high omega 6, gluten and dairy. All of these are prevalent in a western diet!
As developing countries strive to copy the western diet and reduce their traditional foods and ways of eating, perhaps they are having a hugely detrimental affect on their microbiome by reducing gut bacteria diversity. Plus by eating foods high in these items they are helping the bad bacteria flourish.
Other studies show that a newborn baby’s digestive tract is rapidly colonised with micro-organisms from the mother and the surrounding environment.
So if health issues in children are rising, such as allergies, obesity and mental health, it may be that a combination of their mother’s diet shaping the start of their gut health plus their ongoing diet is affecting their microbiome in a very negative way.
Add the prevalence of antibiotics (which kill off all bacteria in the gut – bad and good), then children’s gut environment is fighting a difficult battle to create a healthy diverse microbiome.
Studies also that show that autism symptoms have been reduced by balancing the gut microbiome of autistic children.
There is so much evidence indicating that a diverse gut microbiome helps our health and wellness in so many ways.
It seems we should definitely be looking at eating the right foods to keep our gut environment healthy plus to increase bacteria diversity.
Find out more about ‘what should I eat for a healthy gut?’ here…