Soup may lower asthma risk in babies
PREGNANCY STUDY:A SIMPLE bowl of soup during pregnancy might make all the difference to a newborn infant, lowering the risk of developing childhood asthma.
A new study announced at the science festival hopes to demonstrate whether a slight change in the mother’s diet can deliver this important benefit.
Prof Graham Devereaux of the University of Aberdeen described how the university had already presented research showing that pregnant women who have a diet low in vitamin E are more likely to have children who develop asthma by the age of five.
Similar findings have also been reported in studies from the US and from Japan, he said.
Prof Devereaux is now going to take this a step forward, giving pregnant women additional vitamin E during pregnancy to see whether it can improve lung function and reduce risk of asthma in the baby. He described how he decided to go for natural sources of the vitamin in foods and spices, provided in a hearty soup, instead of using vitamin supplements. The goal was to boost vitamin E intake from the current daily average of about eight micrograms a day to the recommended daily allowance of 15 micrograms a day. The study is referred to as a dietary intervention because it involves altering the diet.
The mothers will be asked to do no more than have a serving of soup three time a week throughout their pregnancy.
The university researchers organised a link-up with Scotland’s Baxters food group, who will prepare the three flavours of soup on offer.
Each will contain foods naturally rich in vitamin E, but Baxters will make two forms to Prof Devereaux’s recipe, one with raised levels of the vitamin and one with no additional vitamin E.
The researchers will follow up afterwards, waiting to see of this simple approach has any impact.