Pregnant? Eating Nuts Now Could Mean Fewer Allergies For Baby!

profile picture of Sona Charaipotra
BySona Charaipotra
Updated
Mar 2017
Hero Image

Could eating nuts during your pregnancy help protect your baby from developing allergies? A new study shows that just might be the case.

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics on Monday by researchers from a number of hospitals and universities, including Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Children’s Cancer Center, “early allergen exposure increases the likelihood of tolerance, and thereby lowers the risk of childhood food allergy.”

Translation: If you’re not allergic to nuts and you eat them frequently —  five times a week or more! — during your pregnancy, you could be helping your baby reduce his risk of developing a nut allergy after birth.

Researchers in this study looked at maternal nut consumption data on more than 8,200 children whose mothers participated in the Nurses Health Study, one of the largest and longest-running examinations of women’s health in the U.S. They found that women who had no nut allergies themselves and ate nuts five times a week or more during their pregnancies had kids with the lowest nut allergy risk.

Food allergies in children increased by about 50 percent across the board between 1997 and 2011 — a staggering number. According the study, nut allergies in particular, have more than tripled in recent years, affecting about 1.4 of children in 2010. And childhood nut allergies are rarely outgrown.

Earlier guidelines — kiboshed in 2008 — suggested women who were pregnant or nursing avoid nuts for fear of triggering allergy risk in kids. This study — while further research is needed to replicate the findings — suggests the opposite.

Obviously, if mama is allergic to nuts, though, she should continue to avoid them. But if you have no known nut allergies, go ahead and indulge — frequently! — in nuts that haven’t been overly processed (say dry roasted and unsalted!). After all, they’re a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — the kind your body, and baby’s, totally needs!

Related Video

Parents Can Give Kids Expired EpiPens as Shortage Continues, FDA Says

Ashley Edwards Walker
Contributing Writer
Published
08/23/2018

A Drug to Cure Peanut Allergies Is Almost Here

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
02/20/2018

If Your Child Has Allergies, You'll Want to Download This Plan

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
02/23/2017

New Guidelines Say Introduce Peanuts During Infancy

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
09/27/2017

Tia Mowry Shares How Her Son's Severe Allergy Changed Her Family’s Life

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
10/30/2018

Mom's Viral PSA on Teal Pumpkins Makes Halloween Safer for Kids With Allergies

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
10/04/2018

This Is What Really Happens When a Kid Has a Severe Allergic Reaction

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
03/12/2019

You Need to Know About This New Machine if Your Kid Has Peanut Allergies

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
09/07/2018
Advertisement