A study suggests that eating a fruit-rich diet could help protect children from respiratory allergies and asthma. UK, Greek and Spanish researchers assessed the diet and health of almost 700 children living in rural areas of Crete, where such conditions are rare.
The research found 80% of the children ate fresh fruit, and over two-thirds of them fresh vegetables, at least twice a day.
Eating oranges, apples, tomatoes and grapes each day, which around 300 children did, was shown to have a protective effect against wheezing and allergic rhinitis. Children who ate nuts - a rich source of vitamin E - at least three times a week, again just over 300, were less likely to wheeze.
However, high consumption of margarine more than once a week (331 children) doubled the chances of asthma and allergic rhinitis, compared with those who ate it less frequently, the findings showed. Some 5 to 10 percent of children suffer from asthma in different parts of the world.