Natural Health Tips

Mother's Diet Affects Newborn Allergy Risk

Eating lots of vegetables and fruits during pregnancy is associated with lowering the chance of having a baby with certain allergies, study findings from Japan suggest.

The study found that babies born to women who ate high amounts of green and yellow fruits and vegetables, and those rich in beta carotene, had a reduced risk of being born with eczema, a condition that cause the skin to become itchy, dry, reddened and cracked.

Furthermore, foods high in Vitamin E, found in some green vegetables, were similarly found to lessen the risk of having a wheezy infant.

Study Details

Researchers evaluated vegetable and fruit intake during pregnancy of 763 women and their offspring's early-age eczema or allergic wheeze.

The women were 30 years old on average and about 17 weeks pregnant when they reported personal and medical history. When their babies were between 16 and 24 months old, the women provided birth and breastfeeding history, number of older siblings, and exposure to smoke.

The team found that 21 percent of the youngsters wheezed or had a "whistling in the chest in the last 12 months," and fewer than 19 percent had eczema.

According to the investigators, moms who ate greater amounts of green and yellow vegetables, citrus fruits, or beta carotene while pregnant were less likely to have an infant with eczema.

For example, after allowing for other eczema risk factors, eczema was more common among infants of moms who ate the least versus the most green and yellow vegetables - 54 and 32 infants, respectively.

Likewise, higher intake of Vitamin E during pregnancy was associated a reduced likelihood of having a wheezy infant.

The researchers said that increasing intake of green and yellow vegetables, citrus fruits, and antioxidants such as Beta-carotene and Vitamin E among pregnant women "deserves further investigation as measures that would possibly be effective in the prevention of allergic disorders in the offspring."

This study supports previous and on-going research that eating foods rich in vitamin and minerals, like those found in fruits and vegetables, during pregnancy can go a long way in preventing children from developing allergies.

Breastfeeding is another way to ensure your baby receives the most wholesome nutrition possible. Breast-fed babies are typically born with fewer or no allergies when compared to their formula-fed counterparts. Breast milk contains all the required nutrients crucial for healthy growth and offers protection against infections and diseases, which bottle-feeding does not provide.

Research Paper Details:

Miyake Y, Sasaki S, Tanaka K, Hirota Y. Consumption of vegetables, fruit, and antioxidants during pregnancy and wheeze and eczema in infants. Allergy 2010.