Diverse food intake during pregnancy is associated with reduced allergy

pregnancyTarget Audience: Pregnant women

Summary: New research from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York has shown that eating a diverse range of food such as peanuts, milk and wheat during pregnancy is associated with a reduced childhood allergy in asthma.

Article Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Published Date: May 2014

Article Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674913029898

Content: There has been much debate  of late as to whether mothers should avoid specific foods during pregnancy, in order to reduce the chance of their child developing allergy later in life. In this long-term study researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York studied 1277 random mother-child pairs to determine if prenatal diet had an effect on the development of allergy and asthma in their children.

Using a food frequency questionnaire that pregnant mothers filled in the first and second trimesters, the researchers calculated the intake of common allergic foods such as peanut, milk and wheat. They then followed their children for an average age of 8 years and assessed how many of them had developed food allergy, asthma, hay fever or atopic dermatitis (eczema).

Examining the two sets of data they showed that although food allergy was common  in children (about 6%), a maternal diet high in peanut  reduced the risk of peanut allergy, high milk intake reduced asthma and hay fever, and eating wheat (gluten) reduced the risk of eczema.

While this is preliminary research it shows that avoiding potential allergens in pregnancy is unlikely to reduce childhood allergy. As always more research is needed, especially in mothers who already have allergic children.

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