Consuming apples and fish during pregnancy keeps allergies, asthma at bay in children
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According to a recent article in the Washington Post, women who consumed apples and fish while pregnant had children less likely to get asthma or ezcema, a skin condition produced by allergies. My husband and I were both particularly interested in reading this article (which he forwarded to me) since he had childhood asthma and eczema, and because my diet while pregnant with our first child included at least one apple a day and a serving of (yuck!) fish oil.
According to the study, women were given questionnaires toward the end of pregnancy and again when their children were 5 years old. Women who consumed apples had children less likely to develop asthma than those who did not consume apples during pregnancy and women who ate fish had children less likely to have allergies such as eczema than those who didn't.
What remains unknown is how often apples and fish should be eaten; in fact, consuming more than moderate amounts of of fish, especially certain kinds such as albacore tuna, is not recommended for pregnant women due to the high levels of mercury found in such fish.
Apples, of course, are another story. It's amazing how, throughout the years, the whole 'apple a day' ideology has proven effective. According to the article, the flavonoids in apples were what produced the positive results in children. What's baffling to scientists now is why specifically apples rather than other fruits or vegetables containing flavonoids provided such results. Flavonoids have been a recent hot-topic of discussion in relation to green tea and chocolate, among others, but, as far as I know, not in relation to pregnancy diet.
For me, apples were no big deal. Nothing excites me more than having an apple (especially granny smith) with peanut butter for a snack. The fish, however, was not so easy. I am vegetarian, the kind who eats no fish. It was either taking a prenatal vitamin made with partially hydrogenated oils in order to get my Omega-3s or taking fish oil. I opted for the fish oil--at least it was natural and trans fat-free. After reading this article I feel somewhat vindicated...although I must admit nothing in the universe has ever tasted so bad to me as fish oil. Yick!
Obviously, these were the results of but one study, and much further analysis will need to be done before any final decisions are made as to how much and how often apples and fish should be consumed by pregnant women in order to achieve the desired results. As stated in the article, a healthy, well-rounded diet is best for pregnant women, and all pregnant or would-be pregnant women should consult with a healthcare professional before changing their diets.
I ate my 'apple a day' and took my fish oil (yuck--still reeling from the taste months later!) along with my prenatal vitamin and produced a healthy baby boy. Coincidence or something more? I think it was something more--a healthy pregnancy diet.