About 4 percent of American children have food allergies, and roughly 3 million people in the U.S. are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts. It's already recommended that children under 3 not be given nuts or nut products, because their immune systems are still developing and may be more susceptible to allergens.
Daily consumption of nut products increases the odds that a child will have wheezing by 42 percent, shortness of breath by 58 percent, and steroid use to ease asthma symptoms by 62 percent.
Overall, the odds of developing asthma symptoms for a child whose mother ate nuts daily are 47 percent higher.
Food allergies are fairly common, and are on the rise, perhaps in large part due to increased soy consumption. Soy is HIGHLY allergenic, yet few people understand its full hazards, still believing that soy is a health food.
The fact that your diet during pregnancy can have a major impact on the health of your child is nothing new either. Previous research has found that a mother’s diet while pregnant can even turn DNA on or off in their offspring.
Is it Safe to Eat Nuts During Pregnancy?
I think it’s important to realize that while DAILY consumption of nut products increased the odds that a child would develop asthma, the researchers did not find an association between rare or regular consumption of nuts.
So this warning is really aimed at those of you who indulge in nut products on a daily basis.
After reviewing many tens of thousands of articles on nutrition, I am convinced that the single most important dietary influence for prenatal nutrition is adequate omega-3 fats. Optimizing your omega-3 intake will virtually guarantee that your baby is full term.
Premature deliveries are a nightmare that can be easily avoided with appropriate amounts of omega-3s.
It is my current belief that krill oil is your best source of omega-3 as it also contains the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA.
Flax seeds and walnuts and other plant sources of omega-3 should not be substituted for animal omega-3s as you will simply not receive the same benefits due to intrinsic metabolic inefficiencies.
(Additionally, walnuts are also very dense in calories and could sabotage any attempts at weight loss if you consume more than a few per day).
So, to recap, if you’re healthy, seeds and nuts are likely to be fine in SMALL quantities, however you may want to avoid nuts altogether during pregnancy if you have a family history of asthma.
If you have most any disease, or any kind of insulin related problems, you will want to avoid all seeds and nuts except for flax, chia, and walnuts.
What Other Food Should You Avoid During Pregnancy?
Soy products are perhaps the most hazardous. They should be avoided as much as possible as a diet high in soy during pregnancy and breastfeeding may have a subtle but long-term impact on the development of your child.
Soybeans contain compounds called phytoestrogens or isoflavones, which have been found to produce a variety of hormonal actions within your body. These hormones influence the way your baby’s brain is organized, the way the reproductive organs and cells develop, even the way immune function develops.
Infants exposed to excess amounts of phytoestrogens in utero, or after birth in the form of soy formula, risk a variety of health complications, including early puberty, learning disabilities and behavioral problems, as well as a greater risk of developing severe allergies.
For more information about the many dangers of soy, including its impact on fertility and fetal development, I recommend you check out Kaayla Daniel’s excellent book, The Whole Soy Story, which I recently featured in my Book Review section.
Tips to Resolve Your Allergy Symptoms
In terms of treating food allergies once you or your child has them, a comprehensive nutritional approach is vital. I’ve found that most people's sensitivities dramatically improve when they follow my nutrition plan, which includes avoiding sugar, fruit juices, most grains, and pasteurized dairy products.
Making certain that enough long-chain animal-based omega-3 fats (DHA and EPA) from fish or krill oils are included in your diet is also helpful, and another trick that frequently helps is to add some beneficial bacteria to your gut by taking a high quality probiotic.
Allergies due to chemical sensitivities are another very real affliction, and children born today are severely affected; many are in fact born toxic due to the toxic load of their mothers. Therefore, doing your best to avoid chemicals of all kinds is an increasingly important if you are, or are planning to become, pregnant.
Please see my previous article, Four Steps to Organic Motherhood for more tips and guidelines on how to improve and protect your and your child’s health by adopting an organic approach.
However, the causes of chemical sensitivity can extend beyond just the physical -- there are often emotional traumas, sometimes not readily apparent to the sufferer, which have set the stage for major disruptions in your detoxification and immune systems. In these cases, emotional treatments like the psychological acupressure method known as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can be extremely helpful.