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A recent article published by Science Magazine covered a study completed in the University of Lausanne in Switzerland regarding the effect of a high fiber diet on asthma. High fiber diet has already been linked to managing irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. Researches are now trying to see if it provides any benefit for those suffering from asthma.
The study involved taking two separate groups of mice, one group feeding on a high fiber diet and the other feeding on a low fiber diet. After two weeks, the mice were exposed to an allergenic and their reactions were observed. They found that the mice with a high fiber diet were much less susceptible to a strong reaction. This research could pave the way towards developing a diet catered specifically to asthma and allergy sufferers.
The fiber consumed in fruits and vegetables seems to help quiet the overzealous immune system activity that leads to such conditions as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and possibly even colon cancer. Now it appears that a diet rich in fiber may also fend off asthma, an inflammatory condition that constricts the airways of the lung, by changing the way some immune cells are produced in the bone marrow.
When we eat plentiful fruits and vegetables, the bacteria that occur naturally in our intestines help us digest the fiber. The microbes take “soluble” fiber such as pectin—found in apples, pears, berries, citrus fruits, and onions—and ferment it into specific types of fatty acids that interact with immune cells, helping keep inflammation in check. Whether this anti-inflammatory effect extends beyond the digestive tract is less clear. But the fatty acids in question are able to circulate through the bloodstream, perhaps hooking up with immune cells throughout the body.