Can Eating Peanuts While Pregnant Prevent Allergy?

Can Eating Peanuts While Pregnant Prevent Allergy?

Peanuts is a beloved comic strip, but in many daycare centers and school cafeterias across North America the legume is strictly taboo. That’s because peanut allergies have tripled since 1997! (Around 1.4% of kids in the U.S. are allergic them.) But what accounts for that dramatic increase? Well, perhaps, like Charlie Brown repeatedly trying to kick a football that Lucy inevitably pulls away, it’s because we’ve been fooled into trying to kick the allergy by doing exactly what makes it more likely to occur.

Related: Find out what causes food allergies.

Although, in 2008 the American Academy of Pediatrics rescinded its recommendation to avoid peanuts while pregnant (saying there was no evidence to support the fear that eating them could trigger a peanut allergy in a child), pregnant women have continued to avoid eating peanuts. And that has made children MORE, not less, likely to become allergic to them!

A study shows that if women who are not allergic to peanuts -- or tree nuts -- eat them five or more times a month while pregnant, their child is far less likely to develop the allergy. It appears some kind of immunotherapy is at work and exposing the fetus to potential allergens is a way to help the baby become allergy-resistant.

So moms-to-be take note: peanuts are inexpensive and a great source of protein (with 7g an ounce), plus fiber, niacin, manganese, magnesium, vitamin E, folate, copper, and phosphorus. And while walnuts are the only nut loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, peanuts do have other good-for-you, unsaturated fats.

Related: Eat nuts to live longer.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

More On

Can Allergies Affect Your Hearing?

article

Can Allergies Affect Your Hearing?
The Who bandmates Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are both in their 70s and both admit to significant hearing loss from years of exposure to high-dec...
Feel Like Your Allergies Are Worse This Season? It's Not Your Imagination

article

Feel Like Your Allergies Are Worse This Season? It's Not Your Imagination
If you have allergies, you may have noticed your symptoms getting worse with each passing year, a trend many experts attribute to rising temperatures ...
That Labradoodle May Not Be Hypoallergenic After All

article

That Labradoodle May Not Be Hypoallergenic After All
The white dog in the picture is a Labradoodle—the offspring of a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. Like a lot of people, including the Obamas, our inte...
Reasons Your Heart Just Skipped a Beat and When to Worry

article

Reasons Your Heart Just Skipped a Beat and When to Worry
Has your heart ever felt like it was fluttering, throbbing, pounding or skipping a beat? That feeling is called a heart palpitation. Generally, heart...