Ask five moms if they ate peanuts during their pregnancy and you're likely to get five different answers -- with five different explanations. No doubt the rise of nut allergies in children is disconcerting (it's more than tripled from 1997 to 2010), but there's still no clear cut evidence as to what exactly causes it. Some believe non-hereditary peanut and tree nut allergies, which often overlap, come from moms consuming too much peanut butter and/or pesto while pregnant, while others aren't convinced of that theory. And maybe with good reason: A new study has found that nonallergic pregnant women who consume nuts on a regular basis have children with less of a propensity toward peanut and tree nut allergies.
Let's bust out the PB&Js!
Findings in the study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, indicate that children with the lowest risk of peanut/tree nut allergies came from mothers with the highest peanut/tree nut consumption (five times a week or more) while pregnant. "Our study supports the hypothesis that early allergen exposure increases the likelihood of tolerance and thereby lowers the risk of childhood food allergy," the study claims. Further studies on the subject are needed to say for sure that eating peanut butter while pregnant is definitely the way to go, but the study concluded that "data support the recent decisions to rescind recommendations that all mothers avoid peanuts/tree nuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding."
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So, for mothers-to-be on the fence about whether or not to indulge in their protein and folic-rich peanut cravings, these findings should help make their to-nut-or-not-to-nut question a little easier to answer, barring they have no allergy history themselves. And it's a good thing, because there is way too much conflicting, confusing food advice out there for pregnant women.
Now. Let's hope they conduct a study on fish next.
Did you eat peanuts and/or tree nuts while pregnant?
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