A high fiber diet may protect against asthma

By Michelle Champalanne • Published: March 13th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Mom may have been right all along about eating your fruits and vegetables. Eating your greens has been proven to have many health benefits for you, but did you ever think your lungs would get a boost, too?

A recent study in mice performed in Switzerland found that an enriched fiber diet could weaken the body’s allergic response and protect you against asthma.

The experiment found that when exposed to dust mites, the mice on low-fiber diets had the strongest allergic reaction in the study. On the other hand, the mice given the enriched-fiber diet showed a strong protective effect against dust mites.

When gut bacteria digest dietary fiber, like those found in fruits and vegetables, they release fatty acids into the bloodstream. These short-chain fatty acids then affect the development of immune cells in the bone marrow.

Once the dust mites are detected in the lungs, the immune cells are summoned, triggering an allergic response, the strength of which depends on the effect of those short-chain fatty acids.

So, the more fatty acids you digest from fruits and vegetables, the smaller the allergic reaction will be.

Researchers created a low-fiber diet that mimics our Western diet and they used mice because their immune system is similar to that of humans.

Raspberries, pears and apples have the most fiber out of all of the fruits, whereas artichokes, green peas and broccoli are the highest in fiber among veggies.

The key to maintaining a well-balanced diet, and a strong immune system, is to have balanced meals. Nutritionists recommend at least five cups of fruits and vegetables per day.

Keeping your allergies in check … yet another reason to stock up on your fruits and vegetables.