The Rise in Food Allergies Explained
You’re not imagining it. The prevalence of food allergies is increasing worldwide. More and more children are developing anaphylactic allergies to milk, tree nuts and seafood. According to a National Health Interview Survey, the number of kids with food allergies in the US rose from 3.4% in the years 1997-99 to 5.1% in 2009-11. Now, researchers are starting to figure out why.
According to Yale University immunobiologists, this spike in allergies may be linked to overactive internal food quality control. Environmental factors (such as overuse of hygiene products and antibiotics, increase in processed foods and underexposure to whole, natural foods) are leading to changes in the composition of the gut microbiome. We’re also using stronger detergents and environmental chemicals than ever before. All these factors together may be sensitizing your immune system, making it overreact to innocuous food proteins and treating them like toxic substances.
Arm your immune system against the potential to develop allergies: Protect your gut with pre- and probiotics, work with your doctor to ensure you are only taking antibiotics when needed, and make fresh, whole foods a priority. Farmers’ markets are an excellent resource, but you can also give growing your own a go!