Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Fresh Food Diet Lower Risks of Allergies

Source: The Straits Times, Mind Your Body. 15 Aug 2013
 
 
A new study by The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that babies who ate more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed packaged food were less likely to develop food allergies.
 
According to Reuters:
 
"They found that babies without food allergies scored higher than babies with allergies on a diet that was rich in healthy, often homemade, foods - including fruits, vegetables, poultry and fish - and scant on processed foods such as pre-made meals, potato chips, cook-in sauces and bacon."
 

"The analysis showed that the infants who were having more fruits and vegetables and less commercially produced baby foods and also less adult foods were the ones who were less likely to develop an allergy by the time they were two,"
 

"It's not that they didn't have commercially-made baby foods, it's just that they did not have them predominantly in their diet,"
 
I first read this in my local newspaper last week (I blanked out some ads in the above) and then more online. I have been wanting to talk about it as its something close to my heart. A few points that I want to bring across:
 
1) I've always been a firm believer that fresh is better. I remembered that aside from wholemeal cereals, the first solid food that I fed my son was Avocado, which is very rich in fatty acids, fibre and a whole lot of other nutrients. In fact, it has been labelled as "the best fruit for a baby", "superfood" etc. Most of the time, my son would have fresh food with lots of vegetables in his diet. He has definitely taken some commercially made baby food occasionally when we were out and I was tight with time, but they were limited.

Up till now, he is not allowed to eat junk food like chips and soft drinks and on very rare occasions do I allow sweets. This discipline has been ingrained in him since young and he will even remind his school teachers when they forget this (with such food offered during party time occassionally). And he is only 4 years old this year! I'm proud of his discipline and his teachers are equally impressed :)
 
2) This study is especially important for those babies whose parents have allergies. As we know, there is a high chance that children will inherit the allergies from their parents. So to give a good head start and take some preventive steps may come a long way in helping the child. I think even if it doesn't prevent the allergies, it can help to lessen it.
 
3) This study talks about food allergy. But in my opinion, it applies to all types of allergies because fundamentally, people get allergies due to flaw in their immune system. While diet alone cannot "cure" the allergies, it can help to manage it and lessen the severity of the allergies.

4) And lastly, the principle of fresh is better not only applies to babies, it is equally important for adults as well. For those interested, I have a post here on Diet for Allergic Rhinitis.