If you're at all concerned about your baby possibly having allergies or asthma, then you may want to pay close attention to a specific food you either aren't eating or are maybe even avoiding during your pregnancy.
According to new research, (believe it or not) eating nuts while pregnant can actually reduce your baby's chance of developing allergies. Danish researchers followed the cases of over 60,000 mothers and their children from the time they were pregnant until the kids were 7 years old. And what they found was pretty surprising, to say the least.
Based on the results of the study, women who eat nuts while pregnant have kids with a quarter less chance of having asthma at 18 months, and a third less chance at age 7. The results were also summed up in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, where the researchers stated:
We found that maternal peanut and tree nut intake one or more times per week during pregnancy decreases the risk of allergic disease in childhood. These results do not support avoidance of nuts during pregnancy.
Ok, so they're telling us to go ahead and snack on nuts during pregnancy and not only quit worrying about it, but also see it as a good thing. Wow. That's a switch. I always thought eating nuts while pregnant increased your child's chance of having a nut allergy, which is why I didn't eat too many of them while I was expecting my son.
And up until 2009, that's the advice most pregnant women were given out of fear that eating nuts would make your child more likely to have allergies. (If only this new study had been conducted earlier, a lot of us could've chowed down on peanuts and almonds to our heart's content.)
So, what is it about eating nuts that lessens the chance of our babies suffering allergic reactions?
According to Colin Michie, the chairman of nutrition at the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health:
If your body has experienced something before, it’s not going to think that it’s an enemy and come out fighting against it, which is what happens with an allergic response. Scientifically speaking, if you have antigens that are present when you are building up your immune repertoire as a foetus and infant, you are less likely to regard something as foreign or dangerous when you encounter large quantities of it.
You have to admit, the whole thing kind of makes sense. If you've already been exposed to a particular type of food in utero, it seems plausible that you'd be less likely to have a negative reaction to it after birth.
(Darn. I knew I should've eaten more green veggies while I was pregnant. Maybe if I had, my son wouldn't gag on them every single time I try and serve them.)
What do you make of this research? Does it make you less nervous about eating nuts during your pregnancy?
Image via EuroMagic/Flickr