The nutritional management of gastrointestinal (GI) allergic diseases hashistorically relied on the avoidance of dietary allergens. Among formula-fedinfants, in whom food allergies are often transient and alternative sources ofnutrients are plentiful, this approach is appropriate, safe, and often effective.Dietary avoidance of foods, however, entails nutritional risks and can bedifficult to maintain if allergies are numerous or persistent. An alternativeapproach in treating GI diseases due to allergy, infection or others is theprovision of some of a variety of nutrients that may actively exert healthfulaffects on the GI tract. Here a review is made of the evidence that standardapproaches of dietary avoidance may be poorly designed for optimal health,as well as the possibility that so-called gut-protective nutrients may play arole in mediating intestinal inflammation.1970s is paralleled by a dramatic increase in the prevalence of allergicdiseases (fig. 1) [1–3].