Clean Eating

The Rise in Food Allergies Explained

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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!

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