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Mediterranean diet may aid children

New research suggests that expectant mothers who eat a "Mediterranean diet" could stop their children from developing asthma and allergies.

The study appears to fuel beliefs that eating a diet rich in olive oil, fruit, vegetables and fish helps keep people healthy.

The research, which is published online in the journal Thorax, was carried out by researchers from Greece, Spain and Mexico.

It followed more than 450 mothers and their children in the Spanish island of Menorca throughout pregnancy up until the youngsters were aged six-and-a-half.

Questionnaires were used to assess the mother's food intake in pregnancy alongside the child's diet by the age of six, while parents also filled in questionnaires on their child's respiratory and allergic symptoms.

Researchers found that women with a high Mediterranean diet score during pregnancy (66% of the women) offered the most benefits to their children.

Leanne Male, assistant director of research at Asthma UK, said: "This study adds to previous research which shows that a Mediterranean diet can have a beneficial effect on asthma symptoms and specifically in this study that these benefits can be passed on to the pregnant mother's unborn child."

Asthma UK

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