Whole Grains And Fish May Protect Against Asthma
(Reuters Health) – Children who eat goodly amounts of whole grain products and fish seem to have a reduced risk of developing asthma, according to findings published in the medical journal Thorax.
“The rise in the prevalence of asthma in western societies may be related to changed dietary habits,” write Dr. H. A. Smit, of the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, and colleagues.
They note that studies of children have shown that asthma is less likely with increasing intake of “fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grain products, and fish.”
The researchers examined the intake of these foods in relation to asthma in 598 Dutch children between the ages of 8 and 13 years enrolled in the International Study on Allergy and Asthma in Childhood 2 (ISAAC-2).
Parents completed food questionnaires, which were used to estimate the kids’ dietary intakes. Wheezing and asthma were also determined with questionnaires, as well as from medical tests.
No clear associations were observed between asthma or wheezing and intake of citrus fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, but there was a link with consumption of fish and whole grain products.
“The crude prevalence of current wheeze was observed to be 19.4% in children with a low intake of both foods compared with 4.2% in children with a high intake of both foods,” Smit’s team reports. “For current asthma the crude prevalences were 16.7% and 2.8%, respectively.”
After adjustments, whole grains and fish were linked to a reduction of 54 percent and 66 percent, respectively, in the likelihood of having asthma, and similar reductions of 45 percent and 56 percent for wheezing.
The researchers recommend forward-looking studies to further clarify the relationship between dietary factors and asthma, and the possible effects of diet modifications.