In the past, pregnant women were advised by their doctors to avoid certain foods to lower the chance of their unborn child having an allergy to said foods. Scientists have learned this information is not true and pregnant women should eat a wide variety of healthy foods. Here are two foods pregnant women may have been told to avoid, and the health benefits they offer during pregnancy.

Peanuts and Tree Nuts

From 1997 to 2010, the rate of children with a peanut or tree nut allergy in the United States tripled from 0.4 percent to 1.4 percent. Doctors have previously advised pregnant women to avoid eating peanuts and tree nuts during their pregnancy to prevent their unborn child from acquiring an allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. Despite this advice, peanut allergies have continued to increase in children. Recent research has proved this advise is incorrect.

In 2012, more than 60,000 Danish women participated in a study during their pregnancies relating their diets. It was found an increased consumption of peanuts and tree nuts during their pregnancies resulted in a decrease in asthma and allergic diseases in their children. Researchers concluded that peanuts and tree nuts should not be avoided during a woman's pregnancy because they actually offer a beneficial protection. As long as you are not allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, you should eat them five or more times a week to lower the risk of your child developing an allergy to these nuts.

One ounce of peanuts contains ten percent of your daily recommended folate during your pregnancy. This can help prevent neural tube defects in your unborn child, such as spina bifida. An ounce of peanuts also contains 7 grams of protein. One ounce of walnuts contains omega 3 fatty acids, which are important for helping your baby's brain development.

Cow's Milk

Cow's milk is a common allergic food in children and evidence shows children who are born to mothers who don't avoid potential allergic foods are less likely to develop food allergies. Drinking cow's milk during your pregnancy gives your unborn baby a reduced chance of being allergic to it. In a 2011 study in Finland a population of women predisposed to type 1 diabetes increased their consumption of cow's milk during their pregnancies. These women's offspring had a lower incidence of a cow's milk allergy after they were born. 

Besides helping your unborn child have a decreased chance of a milk allergy, drinking cow's milk gives you beneficial vitamins and minerals. During your pregnancy, you will need 1,000 to 1,300 mg of calcium per day and milk provides a good source of this mineral. Depending on whether you need to gain weight or watch your weight gain during pregnancy, you can choose from skim milk, one percent, two percent, or whole milk. Make sure the milk is always pasteurized, as recommended by the CDC. 

Milk is also a good source of vitamin D, to help prevent gestational diabetes in you during your pregnancy. Vitamin D also helps in the growth of your unborn baby. Vitamin E in cow's milk works as an antioxidant to help protect your body from viruses and bacteria. Vitamin A in cow's milk will help keep your body's immunity up, and also keep your vision and body tissues healthy.

Eating a variety of healthy foods can help your and your unborn baby's health during pregnancy and lower the chance of your baby having a food allergy. Use this information to help you include peanuts, tree nuts, and cow's milk in your pregnancy diet. For more information, consider contacting allergy specialists like Diane L. Ozog, MD, SC.