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Eating Fish and Diary While Pregnant Could Protect Children from Allergies

Eating Fish and Diary While Pregnant Could Protect Children from Allergies

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Wednesday, 02 November 2016 09:01 AM

New research from Sweden suggests that eating oily fish while pregnant or breastfeeding, and introducing fish to children at a young age, may protect against allergies later in life.

The study by Karin Jonsson, a PhD student from the division of Food and Nutrition Science at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, looked at how the diets of children raised on farms as well as the diets of their mothers can affect the risk of developing allergies, as previous studies have shown that farm-raised children are very seldom allergic.

Jonsson used data from the Farmflora Birth cohort, which was set up to research what kind of protection a farming environment could provide against allergies, and included a total of 65 children in the study.

28 children came from dairy farms in Västra Götaland, Sweden, and a control group of 37 children came from the same area, but did not live on farms.

The children were assessed for any existing food allergies, asthma, eczemas or hay fever.

From the 28 children living on farms, just one was allergic at the age of three years (four percent). In the control group 10 out of 37 children (27 percent) had allergies at the same age.

Seafood consumption

Jonsson was surprised to see that the strongest link between diet and allergies came from eating fish, as eating fish is not directly linked to living on a farm. However the results showed that the healthy children had higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in their blood at birth and at four months of age, which corresponded with the mothers' high intake of fish during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The children's seafood consumption by one year of age was also associated with lower frequency of allergy, although the connection was weaker.

High-fat dairy intake

Similarly, although the link was less significant, the type of dairy consumed also had an effect on allergies. Farm mothers ate more high-fat dairy products and saturated fats during pregnancy and breastfeeding and fed their children more of these food products in the first 12 months of life. Mothers in the control group ate and fed their children more margarine; Jonsson found that these children had a higher incidence of allergies.

In addition, Jonsson noted that introducing fish and eggs into children's diets before 11 months of age reduced the risk of developing allergies.

Despite the small sample size, Jonsson's results support previous studies which suggest that a high intake of fish in the family reduces the risk of allergies, and that farm living can also have a beneficial effect.

© AFP/Relaxnews 2019

   
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New research from Sweden suggests that eating oily fish while pregnant or breastfeeding, and introducing fish to children at a young age, may protect against allergies later in life.The study by Karin Jonsson, a PhD student from the division of Food and Nutrition Science at...
fish, dairy, protect, pregnant, children, allergies
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2016-01-02
Wednesday, 02 November 2016 09:01 AM
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