The number of people with allergies is on the rise in developed countries and no one knows why.
I’ve seen and heard speculation that the causes might involve too much modern hygiene, or our processed modern diet, or the types of things we are exposed to when very young, and so on. But no one has the answer yet.
I’d like to add a hypothesis to the mix: Humans in modern economies no longer eat much locally-grown food.
You’ve probably heard it said that eating local honey is good for allergies. I can’t confirm that to be true, but it got me wondering if locally-grown food in general carries any protective properties.
I just ended a month of horrendous allergies and asthma attacks. Both symptoms stopped abruptly – as if someone turned a switch – after eating the first meal-sized batch of vegetables from my own mini-garden this season. I woke up fine the next morning.
That’s probably a coincidence, and this is about the time of year that springtime allergies typically subside. But the abruptness was a surprise. I went from a ten to a zero in one day.
So now I have two totally undependable data points. 1) The unproven and probably untrue idea that local honey helps allergies, and 2) The highly anecdotal observation that my symptoms ended at about the same time I ate locally-grown veggies.
What we need is a third totally-undependable data source, so I put the question to you. If you have bad allergies at the moment, eat a meal-sized amount of locally-grown produce today and let me know if you feel any better the next day.
Alternately, tell me your allergy level at this moment along with an estimate of how much locally-grown food you consumed this week.
The odds of this hypothesis panning out are roughly zero. But if testing it only requires eating delicious local food, why not?
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com
Author of this book