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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Pregnant mothers encouraged to eat nuts and fish

9th September 2011

A diet rich in oily fish and nuts during pregnancy could help reduce the chances of babies developing food allergies.


New research has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids could prompt the gut to develop in a way that boosts the immune system.

Expectant mums could help by incorporating foods such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, as well as walnuts, pumpkin seeds and linseeds in their diet.

There are now concerns that because consumption of such foods has fallen, more children could be at risk of food allergies.

The findings come amid concerns that food allergy appears to be on the increase in Britain, with the number of related hospital admissions rising six-fold since 1990.

Researchers from France’s National Agricultural Research Institute (INRA) found that when pregnant women ate a diet high in a particular group of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), the gut walls of their offspring were more permeable.

This allowed more broken down food substances and bacteria to pass into the bloodstream, triggering the baby’s immune system to produce antibodies.

Dr Gaëlle Boudry from the INRA said the study identified that a certain group of polyunsaturated fatty acids caused a change in how a baby’s gut develops.

“The end result is that the baby’s immune system may develop and mature faster – leading to better immune function and less likelihood of suffering allergies,” she said.

The research has been published in The Journal of Physiology and, according to Dr Boudry, adds to evidence that consuming such fatty acids in pregnancy was beneficial for babies.


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