It's been said that a good way to keep children from developing nut allergies is for moms to avoid peanuts, tree nuts, and related products during pregnancy. Turns out that's nonsense. A long-running health investigation involving over 8,000 kids now suggests you can scarf as many nuts while you're pregnant as you damn well please.
Top photo by Brandice Schnabel via flickr
Researchers from Boston Children's Hospital found that children born to women who ate peanuts, almonds, or other nuts on a near daily basis during pregnancy were about 30 percent less likely to develop peanut or tree nut allergies compared to those born to women who rarely ate nuts.
Neither of the two groups of women had nut allergies themselves, though the researchers also looked at pregnant women who did. They found that for children born to mothers with nut allergies who ate nuts they weren't allergic to, they had a slight but non-significant increase in allergies. This is compared to those pregnant mothers with allergies who avoided nuts altogether, according to the study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.
"We can't make a recommendation based on our findings that women should eat nuts during pregnancy to protect against allergies in their newborns," said study co-author Dr. Michael Young, an allergy and immunology specialist at Boston Children's. "But we can say that pregnant women should no longer be fearful of eating nuts and should eat them if desired."
PRAISE BE! I know a number of moms who are gonna need a jar of peanut butter and a spoon, pronto. Notably, this study was NOT funded by the International Tree Nut Council (unlike some other recent nut studies).