A while back I wrote a post called Why are food allergies on the rise?, discussing several theories as to why this is so, including the Hygiene Hypothesis, which says that we are so used to living in a clean environment that our immune systems have nothing to attack and so begin to attack harmless proteins that enter our body or even our own body tissues. I also discussed modern day food processing as a possible cause because we are eating more allergenic proteins that are added to our foods.
Today the Washington Post published an article called Immune Systems Increasingly On Attack, which reflects on why numbers of food allergies, eczema, asthma and immune-system diseases have shot up. According to the article, the Hygiene Hypothesis is still the leading theory for why this is happening, but some say that this doesn’t explain everything, like why there is a rise in asthma in inner-city kids.
I believe this can be explained by another theory mentioned — that we are eating more processed food. This is certainly the case with poor, inner-city families. I am quite confident in saying that most asthma could be cured with a change in diet (as in my case), but if people with money and education don’t know (or won’t accept) this, then poor families are doomed. I don’t believe anyone has ever taken a group of inner-city kids and removed gluten and dairy from their diets to see if their asthma improved — now that would be interesting!
Or rather than change our diets as a cure, we could all swallow microscopic parasitic worms that infect pigs. I am not making this up — it’s in the Washington Post article!