What's a mother to do? Or, more specifically, what's an expectant mother to do? About diet, that is. A recent study showed that expectant moms who eat a Mediterranean diet help protect their children from allergies. A Mediterranean diet emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. It all sounds pretty good, and it will certainly be healthy for the mom. But, as is often the case, a new study has a bit of a different take.
The newest study, from a team of Dutch researchers, says expectant moms should be careful about eating nuts. They asked over 4,000 pregnant women to complete detailed dietary questionnaires at the beginning of the study to assess their eating habits. They then followed their children through the next eight years to see who developed asthma. The results pointed to a strong association between expectant moms eating nuts and their children developing asthma.
"We were pretty surprised to see the adverse associations between daily versus rare nut product consumption during pregnancy and symptoms of asthma in children, because we haven't seen this in similar previous studies," said the study's lead author, Saskia Willers from Utrecht University.
The primary culprit may be the peanut. Peanuts are a healthy food. They contain monounsaturated fats, which are especially beneficial to heart health. They are also an excellent source of antioxidants, and a good source of niacin, folate, vitamin E, protein, and manganese. But, they're also high on the list of foods that may cause allergic reactions.
The key may be in moderation. The researchers found that women who ate nuts on a daily basis, a peanut butter sandwich for example, had children with higher rates of asthma. But, the children of those who ate nuts only occasionally fared much better. "It's important for pregnant women to eat healthily, and what is true for many foods is that too much is never good," said Willers.
Two studies, two semi-conflicting results. Don't you love science?To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read more about the dastardly and delicious peanut, see this from The World's Healthiest Foods.