Adding fish to a child’s diet before the age of nine months could lessen the chances of developing eczema.
The rate of this painful skin condition has risen in Western countries in recent years, and scientists believe diet may be partly to blame.
Swedish scientists tracked the health of children in 5,000 families, and said that early introduction of fish cut the risk by a quarter. The research was published in Archives of Disease in Childhood. The children were all part of an ongoing health study looking at almost 17,000 infants born in 2003 in western Sweden. Some of the families involved agreed to fill in questionnaires about diet and home environment when the child was six months and 12 months old. Any evidence of eczema was also recorded, and the results analysed. At six months old, 13% of the families said their child had already developed eczema, and this rose to 20% by their first birthday. Genes appeared have the most powerful effect – children with a sibling or mother with eczema were almost twice as likely to be affected by 12 months. Breast feeding, the age at which dairy products were introduced, and the presence of a furry pet in the home had no detectable influence on eczema.
However, the introduction of fish before nine months cut the risk by 25%. The additional good news is that fish, as I’m sure you know by now, is extremely good for you; it helps maintain a smooth action in your joints (important so you can do loads more squats and lunges); it provides an excellent source of lean protein so you can build up some lean muscle and stay functionally fit as well as slim; it lowers your chances of getting cancer. As both personal triainers and nutritional advisors, we encourage our clients to eat as much oily fish as they can, even if in reality and within lifestyle constraints this may only be 2-3 times a week. So go for it, buy some salmon, it’s excellent not just for you but for the little nippers too!