Kids eating fish have fewer allergy risks - research

Feeding fish to kids before they reach the age of 12 could help prevent allergies, scientists say.

Experts from the Institute of Environmental Medicine and the Department of Clinical Science and Education in Stockholm, Sweden analysed data from 3,285 children registered with a Swedish cohort study.

Parents of the participating children were given surveys at age one, two, four, eight and 12 to assess any allergic symptoms, lifestyle factors and environmental exposures. The questionnaire given to parents with a one-year-old recorded how much fish the child was consuming daily. At eight-years-old the children were given Immunoglobulin E (IgE) tests to screen for any signs of allergens.

The group's results showed that 80 per cent of one-year-old children consumed fish regularly (more than two servings a month). Adding fish to a child's diet between the ages of one and 12 reduced that child's risk of allergy symptoms by 74 per cent.

Although researchers are confident in this conclusion they are unsure what is that specifically causes this effect on allergic diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have been praised by medical experts in the past for supporting immune health and heart function.

Parents should always consider the dangers involved with consuming high levels of mercury and avoid fish with unhealthy amounts of mercury, Medical Daily reported.

This study was published in the American Society for Nutrition's journal The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

- www.nzherald.co.nz

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