Pregnant?  You might want to add some nuts to your diet. New research has found that doing so might decrease your baby's likelihood of developing a nut allergy later in life.

Of course, this is all contrary to advice that the experts were doling out even just a few years ago.  When I was pregnant with my eldest - who recently turned 11 - doctors recommended that pregnant women avoid nuts, or at least limit their consumption in order to minimize the baby's exposure to nuts in the womb and thereby reduce their chances for developing allergies.  But a new study has turned this advice on its head, finding that pregnant women should not worry about eating nuts, and that doing so may actually help their babies in the long run.

The study, published recently in the journal Pediatrics, looked at data from 8,205 mothers who were not allergic to nuts and who gave birth to babies between 1990 to 1994.  Among those evaluated, the researchers found 140 cases of nut allergies among the children.  The study's authors adjusted for age, race, season of birth, smoking, consumption of fruits and vegetables and other factors, and still found that mothers who consumed nuts at least five times a month were almost 70 percent less likely to have a baby with a nut allergy than those who ate nuts less than once a month.

Dr. Michael C. Young, an allergist at Boston Children’s Hospital and a lead researcher of the study said, “Previously, women were concerned that eating nuts during pregnancy probably would lead to an allergic baby, but our data dispels that. A woman who is pregnant can eat peanuts without fear that she will have a baby allergic to peanuts.”

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