An allergy is the reaction of an overactive immune system to environmental factors which are usually harmless for most people, dust mites, pet hair, pollen, insects, ticks, moulds, foods and some medications. This definition of allergy was provided by the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy.
Ideally, allergies can not be treated, and are usually managed by avoiding the allergens or lifestyle modifications that support the immune system. One such method is sticking to a plant-based diet, as recommended by K Sowmya, Senior Dietician, Apollo Hospitals, Secunderabad while talking to the team of OnlyMyHealth.
Plant-Based Diets Help To Fight Allergies
“Allergic diseases are mediated by an increase in the IgE antibodies, that cause skin, lungs and nose epithelium diseases,” shared Sowmya.
Talking about diets that trigger an allergic response, Sowmya said, “Diets high in calories, proteins, and polyunsaturated fatty acids have shown to be pro-allergic. Whereas fruits and vegetables rich in omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibre, zinc, and selenium are anti-inflammatory and suppress allergic inflammation.”
Listing some ways by which a plant-based diet helps to fight allergies, she shared:
- Plant-based foods improve the bacterial diversity in the gut, causing a reduction in pain and inflammation.
- A vegan diet rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, and low in carbohydrates, and saturated fats can help to reduce inflammation.
- Numerous studies have shown that a vegan or plant-based diet has benefits against asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, as it modulates the immune system and helps to reduce pain and inflammation.
Considerations Before Adopting Plant-Based Diets
A particular type of diet may not suit everyone in the same manner. For example, a study published in ‘Cureus’ stated that a vegan diet decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, the same diet has also been associated with nervous, skeletal, and immune system abnormalities, blood-related disorders, and even mental health problems probably due to nutrient deficiencies.
Hence, Sowmya suggested some points you should consider before switching to a plant-based diet:
- Plant-based diets may not only include fruits, vegetables and grains. You can also include processed or unprocessed foods but in minute quantities.
- Pay attention to food labels while purchasing vegan alternatives so you can follow the diet in the right manner.
- Any special diet if not planned well may also lead to micronutrient deficiencies. So proper planning and understanding different food groups is very crucial.
- Include adequate nuts and oil seeds to meet your need for protein and essential fatty acids along with micronutrients like selenium, zinc and magnesium.
- Plant-based diets can cause protein deficiencies if not planned well. So make sure you include ample protein-rich plant foods regularly.
Concluding her advisory, Sowmya shared that if a plant-based diet is planned well, it can help you to lose weight, and reduce excess fat, and the pain and inflammation that often accompany allergic diseases. However, she recommended that if you experience a lack of energy or other health concerns after following a plant-based diet, consult a doctor or a dietician Immediately.