A two-stage study has shown, that women, who follow Mediterranean diet in pregnancy, also protect their babies from childhood asthma and allergy. During the first stage of the study, 1997, doctors recruited 507 women who attended an antenatal clinic on Menorca, Spain. These women were quizzed about their dietary habits. Six years later the children of these women were examined for asthma and were tested to see if their organisms responded to six common allergens. The researchers found, that the diet of children did not influence the fact whether they had these problems. The main reason was the dietary intake of the mothers while pregnant.
The researchers elaborated the Mediterranean Diet Score System, which measured the consumption of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, legumes, fish and wholegrain cereals. One third of the quizzed mothers had a low rating on this score, while two-thirds had a high score. At the same time children from the “low score” group were almost twice likelier to develop allergies and about four times as likely as children from the “high score” group, to develop asthmatic symptoms.
What is the Mediterranean Diet
There are two main components in the Mediterranean diet: antioxidants (vitamin compounds that kill free radicals) and polyunsaturated fatty acids. In our case the first ones were found effective against asthma in babies, the second ones protected against inflammation.
In general, the Mediterranean diet consists of the following products:
- lots of fruits and vegetables,
- wheat and other cereals,
- moderate amounts of red wine.
Mediterranean diet differs from that one typical to the Americans a lot: the second one has the high amount of animal fats, while Mediterranean diet means first of all the consumption of a lot of olive oil, which lowers cholesterol levels in the blood, blood sugar level and blood pressure. This is why Mediterranean diet is associated with longevity.