High Sugar Intake During Pregnancy Linked To Child's Increased Risk For Asthma And Allergies

The role of maternal diet on a child’s prenatal development is something that is taken seriously by most expecting mothers. Now researchers have found a link between high sugar intake during pregnancy and the child’s increased risk for eventually developing asthma and allergic asthma.

Increasing Asthma And Allergy Prevalence

It was previously believed that the declining intake in antioxidants is responsible for the increase in the prevalence of atopy and asthma. According to this hypothesis, the lessened intake of antioxidants in Westernized countries has also negatively affected the pulmonary defenses, which leads to pulmonary vulnerability.

Between the years of 1970 and 2000, however, a 25 percent increase in refined sugar consumption was recorded in the United States. Researchers are now looking into another hypothesis, in which it is not the antioxidant intake that is responsible for the prevalence of asthma and atrophy in recent decades but the expecting mother’s sugar intake.

What they found was that children whose mothers recorded a higher sugar intake during their pregnancy were generally more at risk of developing allergic asthma.

Sugar Intake Log

What researchers did was to recruit women who were expecting to deliver a child between April 1, 1991 and Dec. 31, 1992. The mothers recorded their maternal diets using a food questionnaire at 32 weeks of pregnancy. In the questionnaire, they detailed their consumption of 43 food groups per week, as well as their daily consumption of food items such as coffee and tea.

Using the data they gathered from the questionnaires, researchers were able to estimate the mothers’ free sugar intake based on their total energy intake and daily nutrient intake. Free sugar intake does not take into account the sugars present in milk, as well as in vegetables and fruits.

At age 7.5, the children were assessed as to which of them had doctor-diagnosed asthma and which among them had experienced conditions such as eczema, wheezing, or hay fever in the last 12 months.

Increased Risks

Based on the information the researchers have gathered, 12.2 percent of the children had doctor-diagnosed asthma, 10.7 percent had wheezing with whistling, 8.8 percent had hay fever, 16.2 percent had eczema, and 21.5 percent had atopy.

Based on this information, the researchers found little evidence to support a direct correlation between maternal free sugar intake and childhood asthma or wheezing and atrophy. However, the link was much stronger with regard to allergic asthma, which is essentially an asthma diagnosis accompanied by a strong sensitivity to allergens.

Specifically, children whose mothers reported high sugar intake during pregnancy were 38 percent more likely to test positive for an allergen and 73 percent more likely to test positive for two or more other allergens when compared to children whose mothers had low-sugar diets.

Researchers believe that high sugar intake may affect inflammation during the development of the lung tissue, which affects the child’s risks and vulnerabilities to allergens.

Because of these findings, researchers believe that high sugar intake during pregnancy may affect the child’s risks for developing asthma and atopic asthma. This is especially relevant in the West, where both high sugar consumption and childhood asthma diagnoses are prevalent.

Perhaps this study is yet another reason to take serious steps in considering the things we put into our bodies, especially among expecting mothers who also need to take the growing child inside them into consideration.

 

 

 

Harmful Chemicals and Plastic Matter in Food Linked to Risk of Chronic Diseases in Men

Do you usually consume foods packed in plastic? Experts now suggest that potentially harmful chemicals found in plastic products, such as phthalates, may pose severe threat to human health. Researchers at the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute joined hands to investigate the presence of harmful chemicals in around 1500 male participants. The urine samples of close to 99.6% of the participants contained phthalates. Traces of phthalates in human body have often been linked to triggering a range of ailments.

“We found that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure increased among those men with higher total phthalate levels,” Zumin Shi from the University of Adelaide was quoted by IANS.

 Harmful Chemicals and Plastic Matter in Food Linked to Risk of Chronic Diseases in Men

 

Experts noted that the presence of such chemicals in the body was mainly due to consuming foods contained in plastics. A typical western diet is rich in processed and refined food items that, almost always, come packaged in plastic. Some of the previously conducted studies had shown that consuming soft drinks and pre-packaged foods may lead to high phthalate levels in the body. The hazards of using plastic in packing or serving everyday meals have long been debated upon with many technologists and scientists devising plausible ways to do away with the use of plastic in the culinary and gastronomic space. While a team of German experts invented leaf-derived, biodegradable plates as a viable and eco-friendly substitute to plastic cutlery, experts from the Skipping Rocks Lab, London, UK created ‘edible water balls’ that can be consumed as is without the need to package them in plastic bottles.

 

All this is nothing but a strong signal to move to a world with less dependence on plastic, lest it begins to take a serious toll on our health.

Late Bedtime Habit Linked to Less Control Over OCD Symptoms

There’s a common saying – “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. And it holds true because following a proper schedule helps your body in carrying out its various daily functions as well as recover from damage. When we break the balance, sleeping late or not getting adequate sleep, we hamper our health. A new study done by Binghamton University, State University of New York suggests that people who go to bed late appear to have less control over their obsessive thoughts. The researchers monitored 20 individuals diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – a common chronic disorder that leads to repetitive behaviour – and 10 individuals with OCD-like symptoms during one week of sleep.

“That we find that there are specific negative consequences of sleeping at the wrong times, that’s something to educate the public about,” said Meredith Coles, Professor of Psychology at the University.

Late Bedtime Habit Linked to Less Control Over OCD Symptoms

Participants completed sleep diaries and daily ratings of perceived degree of control over obsessive thoughts and ritualised behaviours. The researchers found that previous night’s bedtime significantly predicted participants’ perceived ability to control their obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour on the subsequent day.

 

“We’re really interested in how this kind of unusual timing of sleep might affect cognitive functioning,” said Jessica Schubert from University of Michigan Medical School. “One possibility is impulse control. It might be that something about shifting the timing of your sleep might reduce your ability to control your thoughts and your behaviours,” Schubert said.

 

“So it might make it more likely that you’re going to have a hard time dismissing intrusive thoughts characteristic of obsessions, and it might make it more difficult for you to refrain from compulsive behaviours that are designed to reduce the anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts,” Schubert added.

Higher Childhood IQ Linked to Longer Life: Top 5 Foods to Boost Brain Power

While a range of lifestyle factors have been linked to triggering ailments like cancer, diabetes, hypertension among others, experts have now established an unusual link between IQ level and a range of diseases. Experts at the University of Edinburgh in the UK have found that kids with higher intelligence have a lower risk of major causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, and smoking related cancers. The findings also suggested lifestyle factors, especially tobacco smoking, as an important component in the effect of intelligence on differences in mortality.

Close to 30,000 men and women were examined for the same and it was found that higher childhood intelligence was associated with a lower risk of death until age 79. Previous studies have shown that, on average, individuals with higher IQs tend to live a little longer than those with lower IQs. Cause of death included coronary heart disease, stroke, specific cancers, respiratory disease, digestive disease, external causes (including suicide and death from injury), and dementia.

 

While the Intelligence Quotient of a person rests on genetic predisposition and can be honed by cognitive exercises and brain stimulating activities, experts suggests diet to also play an active role in boosting brain power. Take a look at top 5 food items that can rev up your IQ.

 

Vitamin C

 

Citrus fruits are excellent for boosting brain power. Vitamin C has long been linked to enhancing mental agility.

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Nuts and Seeds

 

Just a handful of seeds may go a long way in boosting brain power. These are also a great source of essential micronutrients and antioxidants.

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Berries

 

Load up on your favourite berries! From blueberries, raspberries to the most loved strawberries, they protect the brain against age-related cognitive decline.

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Green leafy veggies

 

From broccoli, kale, to spinach – green vegetables are full of iron, Vitamin E, K and B9 (folate) which are extremely important for brain cell development, keeping memory related issues at bay.

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Photo Credit: Istock

Whole grains

 

Regular consumption of whole grains is beneficial for the overall well-being of the body. Grains consumption helps release energy which is used by the brain for proper functioning.