For years some experts have suggested to avoid eating peanuts during pregnancy, but a recently published study by medical researchers at Harvard University turns that recommendation on its head.
The researchers examined data on 8,205 children whose mothers participated in the Nurses Health Study II, an ongoing multiyear population study that includes detailed information on diet. They found that peanut and tree nut allergies were significantly lower among the children born to non-allergic mothers who consumed nuts five or more times a month during their pregnancies compared with those who ate nuts less than once a month during their pregnancies.
“Our study supports the hypothesis that early allergen exposure increases tolerance and lowers risk of childhood food allergy,” the researchers concluded.
The study was recently published online in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
An accompanying editorial states, “pregnant women should not eliminate nuts from their diet as peanuts are a good source of protein and also provide folic acid, which could potentially prevent both neural tube defects and nut sensitization.”