Dr Manny's Notes

Have nut allergies? They don't have to affect your pregnancy

Interestingly enough, researchers found that many people with nut allergies may not have as much of a problem as previously thought.

Interestingly enough, researchers found that many people with nut allergies may not have as much of a problem as previously thought.  (iStock)

If you have a nut allergy, avoiding nuts can be a difficult task. Besides missing the nutrition that nuts offer, you’re also missing out on a tasty snack or flavorful meal addition. What if you could eat those nuts again?

Not Allergic

Recently, The Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology published research on nut allergies. Interestingly enough, researchers found that many people with nut allergies may not have as much of a problem as previously thought.

People who have allergies to one type of nut usually undergo a test for other nut allergies as well. Doctors often find a reaction to other types of nuts, and the patient then goes on to avoid all of the ones they’re seemingly allergic to.

In this recent study, though, researchers tested over 100 people with nut allergies. If a person had a major allergy to one nut and a minor allergy to another, the researchers would give the minor one to the participant. Throughout the study, researchers noticed that over half the participants did not react at all to these nuts.

What Does the Research Mean?

If you have nut allergies but would savor the taste of nuts again, you could get tested. You will need the help of a medical professional, though, in case of an emergency. Also, you may still have an allergy to the one major type of nut that prompted your testing in the first place.

For pregnant women, this research can open up some delightful possibilities. While you should certainly test allergic reactions outside of pregnancy, you’ll find several benefits to eating nuts during pregnancy.

Protein

During your pregnancy, your body actually needs twice the protein than it normally would. When you think about growing another human inside of you, more protein makes sense. Nuts offer a healthy dose of protein that is power-packed inside every handful you eat.

As an added benefit to a pregnant woman sensitive to smells, nuts do not have a powerful smell. You can enjoy the protein without risking an adverse reaction to them.

Healthy Fats

In addition to the protein, nuts provide you with heart-healthy unsaturated fats. If you eat enough of them, you’ll gain healthy weight that supports your growing baby’s development. One small ounce of nuts can provide 6—8 grams of protein and may also contain some omega-3 fatty acids.

Fiber

If you’re pregnant, all kinds of changes are happening, including changes to your bowel system. Sometimes, pregnancy can even cause constipation and stomach issues. Since nuts offer a healthy dose of fiber along with their high protein, you can encourage healthy bowel movements by snacking on a few nuts.

Also, the added fiber can stave off hunger and give you sustained energy throughout the day. You may even enjoy less hunger-related nausea as a side effect.

Child Allergies

One study of 8,000 people in the United States showed interesting results with the risk for a child developing nut allergies. In this study, researchers actually found that mothers who ate nuts at least five times a week actually decreased the chance of their child getting nut allergies later.

On the other hand, the researchers did specify that the mothers did not have nut allergies at all. Additionally, other studies have actually resulted in the exact opposite outcome if mothers ate an increased amount during pregnancy.

Although research does contradict each other, health professionals say that pregnant women not allergic to certain nuts do not have to avoid them. If you are wanting to eat nuts during pregnancy, talk to your doctor about adding them to your diet. You might even help your child fend off any allergies early on.

Eating nuts can add much variety and flavor to your diet, especially in pregnancy. If you’re pregnant, opting for a high-protein nut would fend off hunger-related nausea and help you get more protein. With this breaking research on nut allergies, you may be able to eat nuts and enjoy their nutrition again.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.