New US research published in the JAMA Pediatric journal continues to build on the evidence that mums-to-be who eat nuts during pregnancy could reduce their child’s risk of having a nut allergy.
The Growing Up Today Study 2 examined close to 11 000 children born between 1990 and 1994 and tracked diagnosis of a food allergy, specifically nut allergy. This was compared with dietary records of their mothers, which were taken before, during and after pregnancy.
Among mothers without a nut allergy, eating 30g of nuts greater than five times a week during pregnancy was associated with lower risk of nut allergy rates among their children. Children whose non allergic mothers reported the highest consumption of nuts during pregnancy (more than 5 times a week) were almost 70% less likely to have a nut allergy. Women who reported the highest consumption of nuts in their diet during pregnancy were more likely to also report the highest consumption of fruits and vegetables and that they had introduced nuts into their child’s diet at a younger age. Researchers say the study supports the theory that early exposure to potential allergens increases tolerance and lowers risk of childhood food allergy.