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Feeding your child salmon could protect them against allergies

2 min read

Allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the nose due to allergens like pollen 

Allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the nose due to allergens like pollen, dust, mould or flakes of skin from certain animals. It causes symptoms including frequent sneezing, runny or blocked nose, itchy, red or watery eyes, an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears and a cough, caused by postnasal drip (mucus dripping down the throat from the back of the nose. It is as unpleasant as it sounds and can plague sufferers during what should be an enjoyable times of the year through spring and summer.

New research has found children who eat oily fish may be less likely to develop allergies later in life

There is truth in the old saying that prevention is better than cure so this will come as great news for parents of young children - new research from Sweden has found children who eat oily fish like salmon and mackerel may be less likely to develop allergies later in life.

The study involved researchers asking parents and children to complete questionnaires on how often the children consumed 98 common foods and beverages. As far as fish was concerned, they specifically asked about oily fish - varieties such as herring, mackerel and salmon as well as less oily alternatives like cod, pollack, pike, tuna and fish fingers. They also asked the parents if their children had symptoms of allergic rhinitis past the page of 4 - see symptoms listed above as well as eye symptoms after contact with furry pets.

1,590 children were included in the study who didn't have rhinitis symptoms at age 8, 21% of them developed allergic rhinitis and 15% developed non-allergic rhinitis by age 16. 

The total amount of fish each child consumed did not relate to the development of rhinitis between the ages of 8 and 6, nor did the consumption of less oily varieties such as tuna and cod but specifically eating oily fish was linked to a drop in the risk of allergic rhinitis by almost half.

The researchers said that it is possible that fish consumption during infancy, or how much fish mothers ate during pregnancy might have influenced the odds that children developed rhinitis later in life, though these things weren't measured in the study.

Consumption of oily fish could indicate the child had a good diet overall

While it's possible that fish consumption may help prevent the development of rhinitis, one expert said it could be that consumption of oily fish indicates the child had a good diet overall.

This viewpoint was supported by Dr Diana Di Fabio, a paediatric dietician at Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital , who commented: 'Fish consumption at eight years old may simply serve as an indicator of high dietary quality'. Children who are picky eaters may avoid foods high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats including fish and seafood, walnuts, spinach and soybeans.' 

Similarly Samantha Heller, a nutritionist at New York University's Center for Musculoskeletal Care and Sports Performance added: 'Children who are more likely to consume those foods may also have a more adventurous palate and be more likely to consume a balanced diet.

A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.