Mom’s nut consumption tied to fewer allergies in kids

There’s no question a mother would go to great lengths to ensure her child does not develop allergies. But, imagine if a mother could consume particular foods to help lessen the chance her child would develop allergies. A recent study is trying to prove just this.

The study, based on 62,000 Danish mothers and conducted by Ekaterina Maslova, a researcher at the Centre for Fetal Programming at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, found that the children of those who ate peanuts and tree nuts while pregnant were less likely to develop asthma or allergies than the children whose mothers avoided nuts. The study results were published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The study results support the recent withdrawal of recommendations that pregnant woman should avoid nuts because they might raise a child’s risk for allergies to the nuts themselves and for other hypersensitivities like asthma. There is little research available that indicates that peanuts should be avoided by pregnant mothers, yet the fear still exists. This is the primary reason for conducting the study. Below is further information about the study:

  • • The research team collected survey responses from more than 61,908 Danish moms who gave birth between 1996 and 2002, and analyzed their kids’ medical records at the ages of 18 months and seven years old.
  • • The mothers had provided information about how often they ate peanuts and tree nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, during pregnancy.
  • • At age 18 months, the researchers found that the kids whose mothers ate peanuts were less likely to have asthma.
  • • Fifteen per cent of kids whose moms ate peanuts more than once a week, for instance, had asthma compared to more than 17 per cent of kids whose moms never ate peanuts.
  • • When other asthma risk factors were taken into account, the researchers concluded that kids whose mothers ate peanuts regularly were 21 per cent less likely to develop asthma.
  • • At seven years old, this same group of kids was 34 per cent less likely to have a diagnosis of asthma than kids whose moms had abstained from peanuts.
  • • Similarly, mothers who ate tree nuts more than once a week had 18-month-olds who were 25 per cent less likely to have asthma and wheeze than the moms who avoided the nuts, although this difference appeared to fade as the kids reached seven years old.
  • • Peanuts appeared to have no effect on whether kids developed nasal allergies, and the children of moms who frequently ate tree nuts were 20 per cent less likely to have allergies.
  • • The research team concluded that the findings are further assurance that moms-to-be don’t need to avoid peanuts and tree nuts, though the team did state that the study doesn’t prove that nuts are actually protective against asthma and allergies.

Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology