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Whole grains, fish lower asthma risk in children

Monday, December 18, 2006 by: Jessica Fraser
Tags: asthma, whole grains, children's nutrition

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(NewsTarget) Children who eat whole grains and fish are far less likely to develop asthma and wheezing than children who do not consume adequate amounts of those foods, according to new Dutch research published in the journal Thorax.

A team of researchers from the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment in Bolthoven, the Netherlands, examined the dietary habits of nearly 600 children between 8 and 13 years old who were enrolled in the International Study on Allergy and Asthma in Childhood 2.

The children's parents filled out food questionnaires on the kids' diets and the presence of asthma or wheezing. Medical testing also determined the children's asthma and wheezing.

Though the researchers did not observe a link between asthma and wheezing and the children's intake of vegetables, citrus fruits or dairy, they did notice a significant link to consumption of fish and whole grains.

Children who ate whole grains were 54 percent less likely to develop asthma and 45 percent less likely to develop wheezing than children who did not eat whole grains. Similarly, children who ate fish were 66 percent less likely to develop asthma and 56 percent less likely to wheeze than kids who did not consume fish.

According to consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of "The Seven Laws of Nutrition," asthma and wheezing are "strongly related" to children's diets.

"When children lack the nutrients offered by healthful foods like whole grains and oily fish, they often suffer from runaway inflammation of various organs and tissues, including the lungs," he said.

"But instead of addressing the nutritional deficiencies behind asthma, conventional doctors simply prescribe antihistamine drugs to quiet the symptoms. A better approach to ending asthma starts with nutrition."

The researchers called for more forward-thinking studies to examine the relationship between diet and asthma, as well as possible dietary treatments for the condition.


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