“E” Is For Asthma

Many parents-to-be worry about the dramatic increases in asthma rates among children and there is good reason for concern. Many doctors cite environmental factors such as mold, cigarette smoke, and car exhaust for these rises. Others consider certain foods such as eggs, milk, and nuts to be incompatible with the human body. But more and more evidence shows that not eating certain foods may, in fact, be a significant contributor.

E Is For Asthma

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom followed 1,861 pregnant women throughout Scotland. Results showed that women with low vitamin E intake during pregnancy were five times more likely to have asthmatic children than mothers with high vitamin E intake. Furthermore, regardless of the child’s diet at age five, children whose mothers consumed higher amounts of vitamin E during pregnancy were likely to remain asthma-free. In previous studies, higher intakes of vitamin E during pregnancy resulted in fewer instances of wheezing in two-year olds without colds.

According to head researcher Dr. Graham Devereux, vitamin E consumption during pregnancy influences both lung growth and levels of airway inflammation. Asthma is the result of inflammation in the lungs. Vitamin E is known to protect the mucous membranes in the lungs and reduce inflammation by mopping up dangerous free radicals, which cause damage. The study followed children for five years to provide a more accurate prediction of long-term asthma risk.

Dr. Devereux concludes that lowered vitamin E intake over the past 50 years is a likely contributing factor in today’s skyrocketing rates of asthma. In addition, low-fat diets and increased consumption of processed foods increase vitamin E requirements. He recommends that women consume more vitamin E-rich foods rather than rely on supplements. Meat, oily fish, seafood, green leafy vegetables, avocados, nuts and sunflower seeds are all good sources of vitamin E.

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