A lack of fibre in our diets may be causing the deadly rise in allergies, say Australian researchers.
A new Monash University-led study, published in the journal Cell Reports, found mice allergic to peanuts were protected against the allergy when fed a high-fibre diet.
The Melbourne-based researchers suggest that a simple bowl of bran and some dried apricots in the morning could prevent allergies.
Eating a high-fibre diet changes bacteria in the gut to protect against food allergies, the research showed.
This good gut bacteria helps the immune system resist allergies through the break down of fibre in short-chain fatty acids - opening up the potential for new drug therapy for those with food allergies.
Almost three per cent of children have a peanut allergy and severe reactions to eating the food can cause anaphylaxis, which can lead to death.
Scientist Jian Tan, a PhD student at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, says the study not only reveals how the immune system fails when a person becomes allergic, but how the immune system can be helped through diet to prevent or lessen the effects of allergies.
He said the next step was to conduct trials with humans to determine how a high-fibre diet can protect against allergies.