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the Organic Review: Lack of Dirt Causes Increase in Food Allergies
by Ali Papademetriou
Many Americans are familiar with food allergies. After all, as many as 15 million Americans have them, with 6 million of that figure being children, primarily young children.
Eight foods that are responsible for 90% of all food-allergic reactions are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. These allergies may be a trigger for other maladies such as atopic dermatitis, and eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases.
It seems as if you don’t have a food allergy, you probably know someone who does, which is no surprise due to food allergies being on the rise. Why, though, are food allergies becoming more and more apparent?
Developing evidence is suggesting that the rise in these food allergies and other related disorders over the years is at best, on account of our deficient exposure to microorganisms that were once normal for both our food and our bodies.
These microorganisms that are actually found in dirt act as healthy, beneficial bacteria that are interestingly enough vital to proper immunity health. As strange as it sounds, during delivery, when a baby is being passed through their mother’s birth canal, trillions of microbes are transferred to the baby, which distributes the newborn baby with the maximum amount of healthy defensive bacteria as its immune system can take. This can be vital to newborns’ immunity.
By all means, it is necessary for some mothers to undergo cesarean sections, although the thought of the billions of babies that are born without these healthy defensive bacteria is astonishing.
It is apparent that in today’s society, it is “vital” to keep things clean. Our culture preaches about continuous hand washing and sanitizing as well as intensive washing of our produce as a way to stay healthy. Unfortunately, the fact that this overabundance in washing essentially everything we eat and use has caused the creation of man-made diseases and has been overlooked.
The New York Times says, “While comforting to the germ-phobic public, the too-shiny produce and triple-washed and bagged leafy greens in our local grocery aisle are hardly recognized by our immune system as food.” Our immune systems fundamentally act as a sensory organ with the capability of “recognizing microbial challenges from the environment.”
The capability of our immune systems to modulate our allergic and inflammatory responses is in jeopardy due to a lack of balance in the microorganisms. The imbalance is caused by the overuse of antibiotics, particularly in children, as well as the way we eat.
The vital microbes that our immune systems need are constantly washed down the drain when we go to eat a piece of fruit, or prepare vegetables; and have been over the years.
Unfortunately, due pesticides, Americans have been forced to wash their fruits and vegetables before consumption in order to clean off any chemicals. This could lead to a new important realization of the need to eat organic.