In America, food allergies affect 4 to 6 percent of children. Genetics play a role, but that’s only half the story. Research points to a surprising link: poor gut health. After all, a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system, the part of the body that controls food allergies. That’s where Paleo – a gut-friendly diet – comes in.
What Causes An Allergy?
Let’s look at how an allergy is caused. The immune system normally fights off pathogens like bacteria. However, if it thinks that a normal substance is a “bad guy,” it overreacts and causes an allergic reaction. Common symptoms include swelling, rashes, sneezing, coughing, and itching. A severe reaction can turn into anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition.
In this case, that “bad guy” is food. About 90 percent of all allergies are caused by eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, or soy. In children, milk, eggs, and peanuts are the most common allergens.
It’s possible for kids with allergies to
Food Allergies And Gut Health
Food allergies are the product of an overactive immune system. Meanwhile, your gut is the body’s first line of defense. It’s basically the headquarters of your immune response. You can thank the intestinal microflora, such as clostridia, that protect the body against food allergies. To help it thrive, bacterial balance is key. A healthy gut fights food allergies.2 3
Gut Health And Paleo
Here’s where it gets interesting. According to a 2010 study, children who eat modern diets have poor gut health. They also have less protection against inflammation and colon diseases.
On the other hand, children who eat organic food have balanced, healthier guts. This is much like the “caveman” concept of Paleo. Processed ingredients are completely cut out.4 Remember, warding off food allergies may depend on a balanced gut. Enter Paleo eating!
Paleo Ideas For Kids
Paleo food might seem like a grown-up trend, but children can get
1. Fruit Leather
Instead of gummy candies, treat your kid with fruit leather. A typical recipe involves mashing cooked fruit into a puree. Next, it is spread onto a metal sheet and baked at a low temperature for about 8 hours. The result is sweet and gummy goodness. To make it Paleo, skip the sugar and flavor with lemon juice or cinnamon.
2. Sweet Potato Fries
Goodbye, potato chips. Hello, sweet potato fries! Use coconut oil, avocado oil, or beef tallow. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through. For a Paleo ketchup, blend crushed tomatoes and apple cider vinegar with spices.
3. Fruit Ice Pops
Prepare delicious fruit ice pops that your kids will love! Long gone are the days of artificially colored (and flavored) ice pops. Blend fruits of your choice with coconut water or milk. Pour the mixture into ice pop molds, freeze overnight, and you’re done!
4. Banana Ice Cream
You don’t need dairy and sugar to enjoy ice cream. Chop, freeze, and blend banana slices into a creamy treat. Add fruits like berries or mango. Out of bananas? Try this idea with an avocado.
5. Nut-Crusted Chicken Nuggets
Traditional chicken nuggets are barely even chicken. They’re covered in processed grains, only to be cooked in oils high in saturated fat. Make a Paleo version by coating chicken chunks with eggs. Next,
Who knew fries, chicken nuggets, and ice cream could be so healthy? Hopefully, the kids will let you have a bite or two. The Paleo diet will promote your child’s health and prevent food allergies while tasting absolutely delicious!
|↑1||Food Allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.|
|↑2||O’Hara, Ann M., and Fergus Shanahan. “The gut flora as a forgotten organ.” EMBO reports 7, no. 7 (2006): 688-693.|
|↑3||Stefka, Andrew T., Taylor Feehley, Prabhanshu Tripathi, Ju Qiu, Kathy McCoy, Sarkis K. Mazmanian, Melissa Y. Tjota et al. “Commensal bacteria protect against food allergen sensitization.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, no. 36 (2014): 13145-13150.|
|↑4||De Filippo, Carlotta, Duccio Cavalieri, Monica Di Paola, Matteo Ramazzotti, Jean Baptiste Poullet, Sebastien Massart, Silvia Collini, Giuseppe Pieraccini, and Paolo Lionetti. “Impact of diet in shaping gut microbiota revealed by a comparative study in children from Europe and rural Africa.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107, no. 33 (2010): 14691-14696.|