A new Japanese study, published online January 22, 2010, in the journal Allergy, tracked the fruit and vegetable intake of more than 700 women during pregnancy and then later checked to see how many babies born to these women developed either eczema (an allergic skin condition) or asthmatic wheezing.
According to researchers, moms who ate the most green and yellow vegetables, citrus fruits, and vegetables and fruits rich in beta carotene, were the least likely to have a baby who developed eczema. Likewise, when moms' diets were high in dark, leafy green vegetables and other veggies rich in vitamin E, they were less likely to have a baby who developed wheezing.
Beta carotene and vitamin E are two of many vegetable and fruit antioxidants known to benefit overall health. But just how a mom-to-be's antioxidant intake affects childhood allergies "is still developing," notes lead researcher Yoshihiro Miyake, in a statement to Reuters Health.
Need help adding fruits and vegetables to your daily diet? Make healthy food convenient by keeping a few refrigerator food storage containers filled with such items as sliced peppers and carrots, diced melon, and peeled and sectioned citrus fruit. When it's time to eat a meal, simply scoop out a handful of whatever matches best (add melon to a container of yogurt, sprinkle orange slices over a salad, etc.) to work in an extra serving of fruits or veggies. If greens just aren't your thing, throw a handful in the blender the next time you make a smoothie—it's a painless way to boost your vitamin E intake.