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Allergies and vegetarianism
If you suffer from allergies, adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet may offer some relief. Researchers have found that those who exclude animal products from their diet in favor of plant-based foods are less likely to need treatment for allergies or asthma.
A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat, poultry and seafood but instead consumes a plant-based diet, including seeds, nuts, legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables. Some vegetarians will eat dairy and eggs but some do not. A vegan diet is more restrictive with the exclusion of all animal flesh and byproducts, such as eggs, dairy, honey, etc.
Vegetarian and vegan diets have been studied in the relief of allergies and asthma since the mid-1980s. A 1985 Swedish study demonstrated that asthmatics who followed a vegetarian but especially vegan diet for a full year had a marked decrease in their needs for medications, and frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
In 1994, Loma Linda University tracked how often medical treatments for ailments, including asthma and allergies, were needed for a group of nearly 28,000 people. They found that vegetarians were less likely to need treatment.
Why does a vegan diet help alleviate allergies?
•One of the chemicals, aside from histamine, released during allergic reactions is called leukotrienes (fatty molecules in the immune system that contribute to inflammation). The production of leukotrienes is influenced by the presence of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid found exclusively in animal products. A vegan diet may help reduce leukotrienes because of the absence of arachidonic acid.
•Fruits and veggies contain antioxidants and many nutrients beneficial for the immune system and allergy relief.
•Vitamin E seems to help ward off seasonal allergy symptoms. You’ll find it in many of the foods consumed by vegetarians, including green leafy veggies, beans, apples, carrots, celery, wheat germ and nuts
•Many who follow a vegan diet experience weight loss which can reduce inflammation.
Other benefits of a vegan/vegetarian diet
•There are other benefits to adopting a plant-based diet including lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar; a reduced risk of heart disease and many forms of cancer; and diminished arthritis symptoms.
Following a plant-based diet may not be able to eliminate allergies and asthma completely but diet changes can help.
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