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Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
A new study shows children of women who consumed apples regularly while they were pregnant were much less likely to suffer from asthma or wheezing by age 5 than those whose mothers rarely ate apples during pregnancy.
Childhood asthma is a growing problem in the U.S., and researchers say the results suggests that eating more apples during pregnancy may help protect children against the disease.
Apples Protect Against Asthma
The study, published in Thorax, compared the relationship between what mothers ate during pregnancy and rates of childhood asthma and wheezing in more than 1,200 women and their children.
The results showed apples were the only food associated with a reduced risk of asthma and wheezing in children. Children of mothers who ate the most apples (more than four a week) had a 27% lower risk of ever wheezing and about half the risk of childhood asthma than those who ate the least (0-1 a week).
The study also showed that drinking apple juice made from concentrate and eating one or more bananas a day was associated with improved wheezing occurrences.
Researcher S.M. Willers of Utrecht University in the Netherlands and colleagues say the protective effect of apples is most likely due to their phytochemical content, including flavonoids and other compounds that have been found to have a variety of healthy effects.
SOURCES: Willers, S. Thorax, September 2007; vol 62: pp 772-778. News release, Apple Products Research and Education Council.
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