The British Medical Journal recently published the results of a huge international study on allergy termed ISAAC (International Study of Allergies and Asthma in Children). The study was undertaken to evaluate the effects of dietary choices on asthma and allergy. The findings were rather startling.
Basically, a healthy diet prevented problems and an unhealthy diet led to problems. There was a very strong preventive benefit from regular consumption of fruits and green vegetables. Both are a rich source of antioxidants which are known to have a beneficial effect on the immune system. Regular fish consumption was also associated with lower incidence of allergy and asthma.
On the other hand, diets rich in fat led to allergy and asthma. Especially bad in this regard were fast foods such as burgers, fries and sodas. Saturated fatty acids destabilize the immune system, whereas N-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fish) have natural anti-inflammatory properties.
The investigators concluded that the “Mediterranean diet” is a model diet for general and allergic health. The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, tomatoes, grape/raisin products, and nuts.