To eat nuts, or not to eat nuts. That is the question.

When it comes to food sensitivities and allergies I, as a naturopathic doctor, am concerned about the timing of introduction, quantity, quality, and bodies responses to food. A new article referenced on Medscape (reg required) has been published stating that “children may have a significantly lower risk for peanut or tree nut allergy if their nonallergenic mothers ate peanuts or tree nuts at least 5 times a week in peripregnancy.” This article was published online December 23 in JAMA Pediatrics.

The research was a prospective cohort study of 10,907 participants in the Growing Up Today Study 2 (GUTS2), born between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 1994. Of these participants 308 cases of allergy to any foods were founds, with 140 physician-diagnosed cases of peanut/tree nut allergies in these children. Through periodic questionnaires, mother’s diets and nut consumptions was obtained within 6 months of pregnancy. Here is a snippet from what the research found:

“...offspring whose mothers were nonallergenic and who reported the highest intake of peanuts or tree nuts (≥5 times a week) had the lowest risk for allergy to those nuts (odds ratio [OR], 0.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13 - 0.75; P = .004), after adjusting for sex, race, other diseases, and age of mother at birth. The researchers found a nonstatistically significant increased risk for allergy among offspring whose mothers had a peanut or tree nuts allergy.

As the researchers were looking at the mother’s diets, they saw that the women who had the highest consumption of nuts also had the highest consumption of fruits and vegetables, and were more likely to introduce these foods to their children at younger ages. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and may lower risk for diseases, and allergies.

The researchers understand that more research needs to be done in this field. However, when looking at a pregnant mother who does not have a peanut, or tree nut, allergy, these foods are safe in pregnancy, and are a good source of protein, fat, folic acid, and omega-3.

Thus in my world, it is best to eat a diet that is full of many colors, good fats, and high quality proteins as well as whole grains. Organic is best, moderation always needs to be followed, and take the time to prepare, enjoy, and taste the food that you make. When it comes to babies, the introduction of food should be done one at time, and again go organic with a wide range of colors.

Reference: Medscape (reg required)