It has long been known that a high fiber diet has heart and gut health benefits. Fiber may also be protective against certain types of cancer and promotes a healthy weight.
But a new study published this week in the journal Nature Medicine shows promise that soluble fiber may also be protective against asthma.
In this particular animal study, two groups of mice were fed either a high soluble fiber diet or a low soluble fiber diet, and then exposed to dust mites, a leading cause of allergic asthma which is characterized by inflammation in the lungs.
The high soluble fiber mice group showed lower levels of the immune cells that are usually elevated in asthma. The low soluble fiber mice group experienced strong allergic reactions to the dust mites.
It is thought that the fiber in our diet may have the potential to beneficially alter the bacterial distribution in our gut, which in turn influences how immune cells develop and function.
While there are certainly other genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development of asthma, having a high fiber diet does at least appear to be somewhat protective in the development of certain types of asthma.