The longest running study on vegetarians suggests that those eating plant-based diets have lower rates of chemical, drug, and environmental allergies.
Image thanks to Jeff Werner
So during pregnancy, cutting down on meat consumption may decrease the risk of allergic diseases, but what about after children are born? Well, a preliminary study in Poland recently of vegetarian children suggested the benefits of meat restriction may continue after birth, concluding that some elements of a vegetarian diet may promote protection against allergy.
And indeed, according to the longest running study in history comparing vegetarians to non-vegetarians, women who eat meat appear to have a 30% greater chance of reporting chemical allergies, 24% more asthma, 17% more drug allergies and bee-sting allergies, and 15% more hay fever, though in men, meat eaters just had significantly greater chance of chemical and drug allergies. Now this was cross-sectional data, meaning this was just a slice in time, so we don’t know necessarily which came first.
Yes, eating vegetarian was associated with significantly fewer allergies, but maybe people suffering from allergies are more likely to start eating healthy hoping it will make them feel better. Still, after adjusting for other factors like smoking, the findings do suggest a favorable effect of a plant-based diet on the prevalence of allergies.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.
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Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Check out the other videos which address allergies. And there are 1,449 subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them!
For some more context, see my blog posts: Plant-based Benefits Extend Beyond the Top Killers, Treating Crohn’s Disease With Diet, Plant-Based Diets for Psoriasis, and Mushrooms and Immunity