Eating nuts during pregnancy may reduce allergy risk in children

By Michelle Champalanne • Published: March 20th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Pregnant peanut lovers can now rejoice. A new study found that the age-old taboo of eating nuts during pregnancy was just that, nuts.

Researchers have actually discovered a link between pregnant women who ate nuts and children with a lowered risk of allergy. They not only believe that eating nuts during pregnancy will not cause a food allergy to develop, but that it will also help reduce the child’s risk of having a food allergy.

Previously, women had been advised to avoid nuts and other common food allergens during pregnancy and to keep children from eating peanuts until age 3. This advice was a prevention method distributed during the 1990s when food allergies in children were on the rise. Now, researchers are saying to ignore those recommendations since that effort to prevent allergies doesn’t work.

The study, from Boston Children’s Hospital, found that women who ate nuts, both peanuts and tree nuts like walnuts or almonds, on a near daily basis had the lowest incidence of allergic children.

Researchers said early allergen exposure could help increase tolerance and actually reduce the risk of childhood food allergies.

Today, more children are developing allergies to nuts and other foods. The rate has tripled from 1997 to 2007 and is currently at 4 percent.

However, reasons for this increase are not known. Further research is needed to find out why one in 13 U.S. children have some sort of food allergy.

Although the cause for the uptick in food allergies is not known, researchers say avoiding allergens during pregnancy and early childhood definitely did not make a difference in curbing the trend.

So, pregnant ladies, enjoy your almond milk and peanut butter sandwiches without worry.