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Is Meat Intake Associated With Allergies?

by Dr. Simi Paknikar on  April 14, 2012 at 1:54 PM Health In Focus   - G J E 4
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Can meat in diet increase the chances of suffering from allergies like rhinoconjunctivitis in pregnant women? A study from Japan suggests that the answer is probably 'yes'.
Is Meat Intake Associated With Allergies?
Is Meat Intake Associated With Allergies?

Rhinoconjunctivitis is an allergic reaction which is characterized by the presence of 'rhinitis' and 'conjunctivitis'. Allergic rhinitis or inflammation of the mucus membrane of the nose results in symptoms of stuffy and runny nose. Allergic conjunctivitis, or inflammation of the membrane lining the eye, results in itching and watering of the eyes.

An allergy can be caused by nearly anything and everything under the sun, including the sun. Food also causes allergy. Common causes of food allergy are milk and eggs. Some studies have suggested that a high fat intake could predispose to allergic reactions.

A recently published study examined if the type of food eaten is associated with rhinoconjunctivitis in Japanese pregnant women. The study was conducted on 1745 pregnant women between the fifth and thirty-ninth week of pregnancy.

Each participant had to fill in a questionnaire regarding their diet intake over the previous month. They also had to report their body weight and height for the calculation of body mass index.

The participants filled in details regarding any episode of rhinoconjunctivitis in the past one year. Rhinitis was said to be present if the participants suffered from sneezing or a runny or blocked nose when they did not suffer from a cold or flu. The participants also had to report if the episode was accompanied with itchy or watery eyes.

Rhinoconjunctivitis was as common as nearly 26% in the study population. It was more common in women who had a high intake of meat. However, the researchers were unable to demonstrate any association with fat intake. This is in contrast to some of the previously published studies.

Meat intake had also been associated with other allergic conditions in the past like eczema. How meat can lead to allergies is not clear. The study also has a number of methodological limitations, which could have interfered with the final results.

This Japanese study indicates that meat intake in pregnant women could be associated with rhinoconjunctivitis. Further studies are necessary to check if these results could be applied to the general population.

Reference:

1. Yoshihiro Miyake et al. Dietary meat and fat intake and prevalence of rhinoconjunctivitis in pregnant Japanese women: baseline data from the Kyushu Okinawa Maternal and Child Health Study. Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:19 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-19

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