Eat Your Way to Smarter Brains and Tamer Allergies: The Surprising Link Between Diet and Immunity

An increasing number of people suffer from allergies, and everyone aims to become smarter. Well, researchers at the INRA research institute in Rennes, France, have discovered a connection between the two. Their study found that some critical foods widely neglected in modern diets have the power to strengthen a person’s resistance to allergies while simultaneously boosting mental capabilities.

Although the French study mainly focused on pregnancy and babies’ overall health, the research underscores the significance of these unique foods for people of all ages.

How Fats Found in Fish, Walnuts, and Flaxseeds Can Help

During their study, researchers learned that when a pregnant woman’s diet is abundant in the fats found in fish, walnut oil, and flaxseed, her baby’s gut bacteria may develop more beneficially. These fats – known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) – are believed to enhance gut immune cells’ response to bacteria and other foreign substances.

Consequently, the person’s immunosensitivity can be reduced, and they become less likely to suffer from allergies. Additionally, the PUFAs present in these foods have the potential to significantly improve cognitive abilities and memory.

Unfortunately, the western diet has seen declining levels of PUFAs, which can lead to a rise in allergy occurrences and declining cognitive abilities. Such fats have been replaced with corn oils that contain other fatty acids without the same effects.

Researcher Gaëlle Boudry explains, “Other studies have found that a diet containing fish or walnut oil during pregnancy may make your baby smarter – our research adds to this, suggesting such supplements also accelerate the development of a healthy immune system to ward off food allergies.”

Balancing Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are both PUFAs, which are essential for our bodies to function properly. However, they must be consumed in the right balance. Omega-3 fatty acids, as found in fish and plant oils (like flaxseed oil), have been known to lower the risk of chronic diseases, reduce inflammation, and enhance cognitive abilities.

On the other hand, omega-6 fatty acids, commonly found in soybean oil and corn oil, are somewhat pro-inflammatory. Overconsumption of omega-6 fatty acids has been linked to an increase in the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

In the past, our ancestors typically consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a 1:1 ratio. However, the modern western diet has pushed that ratio closer to being 15:1 or even up to 20:1 in favor of omega-6 fatty acids. By increasing our intake of foods containing omega-3s such as fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds, we can regain a more suitable equilibrium and benefit from the optimal health and cognitive advantages provided by both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Supplementing Your Diet

Consuming these miraculous PUFAs is easier than ever before; you don’t have to overhaul your diet completely. Incremental changes, perhaps in the form of dietary supplements or meal additions, are all it takes to see substantial improvements. Many supplements on the market help increase the intake of omega-3s without having to consume fish, walnuts, or flaxseeds. These are beneficial for people who have dietary restrictions or dislike the taste of fish and seafood.

If you prefer getting your omega-3 fatty acids from food rather than supplements, consider incorporating some of the following into your diet:

  • Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies
  • Walnuts
  • Ground flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  • Chia seeds
  • Canola oil
  • Kidney beans

The Impact on Your Life

With a few simple changes and a more balanced approach to PUFAs, you can harness the power of these unique fatty acids. By consuming more fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds or their derivatives, you can reap the rewards of a richer omega-3 fatty acid intake. Not only will you strengthen your resistance against allergies, but you’ll also boost your cognitive abilities and become smarter.

It’s never too late to start incorporating these super-foods into your daily routine, so go ahead and give it a try!