Eating apples while pregnant may give new meaning to an apple a day keeping the doctor away.
Compelling new research has concluded that mothers who eat apples during pregnancy may protect their children from developing asthma later in life. The study was published in Thorax online.
This unique longitudinal study tracked dietary intake by nearly 2000 pregnant women, then examined the effects of the maternal diet on airway development in more than 1200 of their children five years later. Among a wide variety of foods consumed and recorded by the pregnant women, the researchers concluded that the children of mothers who ate apples had a significantly reduced risk for the development of asthma and childhood wheezing.
This study focuses on medical evaluations for asthma and related symptoms (i.e., wheezing) when the children were five years old. As a result of the evaluations cited in this research, other than apples, there were no consistent associations found between prenatal consumption of a range of healthful foods and asthma in the 1253 children who were evaluated.
Children of mothers who ate apples during pregnancy were much less likely to exhibit symptoms of asthma (including wheezing), say the researchers who hail from institutions in The Netherlands and Scotland. These same researchers previously reported positive associations between maternal consumption of vitamins A, E, D and zinc with reduced risk of asthma, wheeze and eczema in children.
The only other positive association found between prenatal food intake and risk reduction in the children was with fish, for which the researchers found that children of mothers who ate fish had a lowered incidence of doctor-confirmed eczema.