Has your doctor recommended that you avoid nuts while pregnant to prevent a possible food agency? In the past, this was certainly the recommendation of several health organizations, you might want to have your doctor update himself on the latest news. The American Academy of Pediatrics withdrew this recommendation in 2008, and the United Kingdom’s health agency followed suit in 2010. In fact, Reuters.com reports that a recent study suggests that, contrary to what was previously believed, moms who ate peanuts and tree nuts reduced their children’s chances of developing asthma or allergies.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was conducted by US and Danish researchers who surveyed around 62,000 Danish moms who gave birth between 1996 and 2002; the moms were asked how often they ate peanuts and tree nuts, like almonds and walnuts, while they were pregnant. The researchers also examined the medical records of their subjects’ kids.

They calculated that, at 18 months, kids whose moms ate peanuts regularly (more than once a week), were 21 percent less likely to develop asthma than kids whose moms avoided peanuts; at seven years, this statistic rose to 34 percent. Meanwhile, 18-month-old kids whose moms ate tree nuts regularly were 25 percent less likely to develop asthma than those whose moms shunned the nuts, although the difference was reduced in seven-year-olds. Furthermore, kids whose moms ate peanuts were no more or less likely to develop nasal allergies, but those whose moms ate a lot of tree nuts had their chances of getting allergies reduced by 20 percent.

But before you go nuts over nuts, Ekaterina Maslova, team lead and a researcher at the Centre for Fetal Programming at Copenhagen’s Statens Serum Institut, did mention that while the study proved that avoiding nuts isn’t necessary for pregnant women, it doesn’t necessarily follow that these should specifically be added to the diets of expecting moms. She mentions the role fatty acids, vitamin E, or antioxidants may have in reducing the risks of allergy and asthma.

"We're looking at food intake, so we can't say this is the one nutrient that's driving this association," she said.

Dr. Todd Mahr, chair of the section on allergy and immunology at the American Academy of Peddiatrics and a pediatric allergist at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin, was not involved with the study, but he was able to tell Reuters.com, "A take home from this would be if there's no food allergy in your family, but there's an asthma history in your family, maybe you might not want to avoid peanuts specifically."


(Photo by C B / random_alias via Flickr Creative Commons)

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