Fruits Not So Peachy Keen for Asthma and Allergy Protection

Eating fruits and vegetables do not reduce asthma or allergy risks

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Former studies have given credence to the message that fruits and vegetables in a child's diet appear to reduce the risk of developing asthma, hay fever and allergies. Now scientists say: Not so much.

Scientists now observe that children with asthma, hay fever and allergies naturally avoid some fruits and vegetables because certain proteins are similar to parts of pollen that trigger their negative reactions. 

"Fruits and vegetables may not protect children from developing allergies."

Helen Rosenlund of Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, rebooted a Swedish study and excluded the children with food-related allergy symptoms and the hay fever link magically disappeared.

Children with hay fever tend to avoid apples, pears and carrots because the proteins in apples and carrots resemble the birch tree pollen that kids with hay fever naturally avoid. Birch tree pollen sets off their hay fever.

Rosenlund and her team now conclude that fruits do not seem to offer protection against allergic disease.

In Depth

  • Rosenlund and her colleagues looked at data on nearly 2,500 eight-year-olds who had participated since birth in a larger Swedish study
  • Based on blood tests and questionnaires filled out by parents, the researchers found 7 percent of the children had asthma
  • Based on the same blood tests, the rates of hay fever and skin rashes were more than 14 percent
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 17, 2011
Last Updated:
April 26, 2011