Proper and well-balanced immune functioning is of pivotal importance to health and well-being. In the past decades, there has been an apparent decrease in the prevalence of classical infectious diseases, with a concomitant increase in immune-related disorders, including allergies. Causally, a relationship with changes in life-style-related factors, amongst which hygienic practice, is often laid. Diet and nutrition can affect functioning of various immune parameters. This concept can be explored to prevent or mitigate allergic reactions via the development of targeted food products or ingredients. This review describes recent findings with respect to food products and ingredients that show potential in this respect, with special emphasis on pro- and prebiotics, ß-glucans, fungal immunomodulatory proteins and ¿-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The micro-organism-related products appear to strengthen Th1-mediated immunity, thus possibly restoring defective immune maturation due to overly hygienic living conditions. Also ¿-3-PUFAs may hold promise to attenuate allergic symptoms, although this concept appears to function via mechanisms that are clearly distinct from the micro-organism derived compounds.
|Title of host publication||Food Allergies: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment|
|Place of Publication||Hauppauge, NY, USA|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publicers, Inc.|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|