Monday, September 17, 2007

Wham: Pregnant Mothers Can Positively Affect their Children's Health by What They Eat

Scientists writing in the journal Thorax found that eating apples weekly could help mothers reduce the chance of asthma in their offspring, while oily fish could cut eczema.

This study adds further strength to the concept of dietary planning for pregnant mothers who want to establish a protective effect in their infants. Past studies have linked apples, rich in antioxidants, with having an anti-cancer effect and Alzheimer's. In this case, apples now look to be great for pregnant women hoping to positively affect their child's future health.

Asthma is on the rise all over the world. Oddly, apple consumption in the Western world is actually decreasing.

The researchers studied 1924 children born to women recruited during pregnancy and then followed up five years later. The women were eating a diet which consisted of a variety of fruits and vegetables, including bananas, oranges and pears and broccoli, spinach and peas. Most of these foods showed no effect on the health of the babies.

Researchers said "No consistent associations were found between childhood outcomes and maternal intake of the analyzed foods except for apples and fish. Maternal apple intake was beneficially associated with wheeze, asthma and doctor-confirmed asthma in the children. Maternal fish consumption was also beneficially associated with doctor-confirmed eczema."

In the past, other work has shown an association between maternal vitamin E, vitamin D and zinc intakes which have protected against childhood asthma, but few studies on the relationship between particular foods and asthma have been carried out. That's why this one is so interesting. Foods contain a mixture of micronutrients that may contribute more than the sum of their parts.

The authors concluded that, "The specific association found with apples in this study suggests an effect specific to apples, possibly because of their phytochemical content such as flavonoids."


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