Fish and veggies deflect asthma in children

November 13, 2007

SPAIN-Children who eat their fish and green beans may be less likely to develop allergies or asthma, according to new research. In a study of 460 Spanish children who had been followed from birth to age six, scientists found that allergies were less common in youngsters who ate the most fish, and vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants and green beans were associated with a lower risk of asthma.

Dr. Leda Chatzi, of the University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece who conducted the study, said the findings suggest parents should be sure to include these foods in their children’s diets. The study, published in the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, included 460 children whose parents were interviewed periodically over the first 6.5 years of the child’s life.

Parents answered questions on a range of factors that affect a child’s allergy risk — including the mother’s diet during pregnancy, breast-feeding, exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke and family history of allergies and asthma.

Even with these factors considered, the children’s diets were strongly related to their risks of allergies and asthma. Children who ate the most fish were 57 per cent less likely to develop allergies than their peers who ate the least amount.

Children who ate the most tomatoes, eggplants and green beans were 62 per cent less likely to have problems with wheezing, a prime symptom of asthma, compared with their peers who ate the least amount.

Chatzi said the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables may help protect lung tissue from damage. Vegetables such as tomatoes and green beans are particularly good sources of antioxidants like alpha- and beta-carotene, vitamin C and lycopene, the researcher noted.

Fatty varieties of fish such as salmon are a major source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, Chatzi said. It’s thought that because omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory actions, they affect children’s immune system development in a way that guards against allergies.

Source: canada.com

Publication date: 11/8/2007

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