Study: Eating nuts while pregnant lowers baby's chance of peanut allergy

Scientists may have found the answer to avoiding nut allergies: more nuts.

Which is welcome news to Sasha Brown-Worsham, who is expecting her third child next month. "So my favorite thing to eat has been peanut butter," Brown-Worsham said. 

Sasha can easily recall her doctors’ previous warnings about her go-to craving from her last two pregnancies.

“The doctors at that time were actually saying don't eat any peanuts," Brown-Worsham explained. "Don't eat any almonds, just avoid nuts throughout your pregnancy, because it's more likely to cause allergies."

But a new study suggest that the opposite might be true. Expecting mothers may eat nuts could in fact lower their child's chance of having peanut allergies.

Doctor Michael Young of Boston Children's Hospital is the study's lead author.

"In women who ate peanuts and tree nuts more than five times a week, they had children that had a 30 percent reduction in the risk of developing peanut and tree nut allergies,” Young said.

And beating the allergy is a more worthy cause than ever. The number of children with peanut allergies has tripled in the U.S, from 4 percent in 1997 to 1.4 percent in 2010.

Brown-Worsham is an editor at The Stir, a website for moms. She says that peanut allergies are a frequent topic of questions and discussion on the site, and she plans to continue indulging on her favorite snack for the rest of her pregnancy. Now she has all the more reason to do so.

“Initially it was just the cravings, but now in hearing that there actually is a reason, I actually have been thinking of that while I'm eating it ... maybe I could eat this more so my child doesn't end up with an allergy,” Brown-Worsham said.

So to all expecting moms: time too add some almonds and pecans to your diet, before it’s too late.


  • Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.

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