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Healthier Children: An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away?

Regular consumption of apples and fish during pregnancy may have a protective effect against the development of childhood asthma and eczema.

A longitudinal birth cohort study tracked dietary intake by nearly 2000 pregnant women, then examined the effects of the maternal diet on respiratory tract and lung functions in 1212 of their children five years later. The results showed that the children of mothers who ate apples had a significant lower risk for the development of childhood asthma and wheezing. This was possibly due to the protective effects from the phytochemicals in apples, such as flavonoids and polyphenols.
In the same study, it was also found that children of mothers who ate fish during pregnancy had a lowered incidence of doctor-confirmed eczema.
Another study published in the European Respiratory Journal found that children who drank apple juice from concentrate at least once a day were less likely to suffer from symptoms associated with asthma than those who drank it only once a month. Again, it was speculated that the flavonoids and other phytochemicals found in apples may help to calm inflammation of the airways, lessening wheezing and asthma. According to the research, “there is some evidence to suggest that children who have a higher consumption of apple juice from concentrate and bananas exhibit a lower prevalence of current wheeze than children with a lower intake.”

Does this give you new meaning to “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”?

Reference:
  • Maternal food consumption during pregnancy and asthma, respiratory and atopic symptoms in 5-year-old children. Willers et al. Thorax.2007; 62: 773-779.
  • Childhood asthma and fruit consumption. Okoko et al. Eur Respir J 2007; 29: 1161–1168.

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