Sunday, May 06, 2007

Prenatal Diet May Protect Children From Disease

tidbits that tantalize
The Ultimate Takeout Food?

You've always had a good relationship with your husband. You were high school sweethearts, went to college together and married the summer after graduation. He's a biologist, working on restoring the natural balances of local ecosystems for the state - at least, that what you think he does - and, you're a philosophy major. So, obviously, the really important work being done in the family is your study of the impact of plastic bags on mental health.

Lately, however, you've begun to notice a bit of a strain in your marriage. It seems to have started just after you found you were pregnant, and that surprised you. Not the pregnancy, because that was planned. But, the upset. Sure, you both knew there would be changes. In the past, you've both thrived on changes. But, ever since you moved into the apple orchard, things have seemed slightly tense. Heck, you figured your husband the biologist would love it! But, he says he misses things - the television, the bed, the kitchen, the bathroom, the washer and dryer...

Really, you've never known him to be such a whiner!

Might there be an advantage to life in the apple orchard? Well, scientists in the Netherlands have found a surprising advantage to eating apples. Pregnant women who consume a steady diet of apples bear children with a significant protection against asthma.

The scientists followed the dietary habits of roughly 2,000 pregnant women. They then checked the lung function of over 1,200 of their offspring. The results pointed to a single food that lowers the incidence of asthma: apples.

Children of mothers who ate 4 or more apples per week were 37% less likely to experience bouts of wheezing. They were also 53% less likely to have a doctor-diagnosed case of asthma. The results are in comparison to the children of mothers consuming no more than one apple each week.

Researchers believe the benefit may derive from the apple's phytochemical content; apple's flavonoids have previously been shown to benefit lung function in adults. The positive effect was not associated with consumption of other citrus or vegetables.

The researchers also found that a prenatal diet rich in fish offers protection against childhood eczema.

...Sure, sleeping under the stars in an apple orchard has its drawbacks. The helmets are a nuisance and, yes, a tent would be nice. But, you want the freshest apples you can get and - your husband's groan alerts you to a fresh apple. Ah - a midnight snack!

To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To learn more about apples, see this from the University of Illinois Extension.


Blogger Suzanne Lieurance said...

Hey, Tim,

So an apple a day keeps a baby's asthma away (that's an apple a day for the mom BEFORE the baby is born). Good deal!

The Working Writer's Coach

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, science is learning more and more about the importance of certain foods and micro nutrients. Thanks for spotting this one and writing it up so well, Tim. Funny! Geri

8:30 PM  

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