Can a pregnant woman do something to prevent her child from having food allergies? There has been much debate surrounding this question over the years. In the past, allergists recommended pregnant women try to avoid nuts during pregnancy; however, current recommendations are that maternal avoidance diets are unsucessful in preventing the development of an allergy and are therefore not recommended.
A new Harvard study published in JAMA Pediatrics provides some new insight. This study examined the association between maternal comsumption of nuts and the risk of having children with a nut allergy. They found that mothers who were not allergic and who ate nut products more than five times per month were significantly less likely to have a child with a nut allergy. This finding is consistent with new recommendations about introducing highly allergenic foods earlier in life as a way to help prevent the development of food allergies, and it suggests that early exposure to allergens may help promote tolerance to these allergens.