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Babies Fed Fish Twice a Month Are Less Likely to Develop Allergies

Update Date: Jun 06, 2013 02:42 PM EDT

Feeding babies lots of fish in their first year of life may protect them from future allergies. 

A new study revealed analyzed babies' diets and found that babies who ate plenty of fish early in life were significantly less likely to develop allergies 12 years later.

Researchers found that eating lots of fish cut babies' chances of developing eczema by 22 percent and hay fever by 26 percent.

Researchers say the latest findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that feeding babies fish just two or three times a month may be enough to substantially reduce their allergy risks.

Previous studies revealed that early exposure to fish in the diet could have a protective effect up to the age of four. Researchers said they wanted to see if the benefits of eating fish lasted even longer.

Scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, looked at 3,285 babies to study their dietary intake at the ages of one, two, four, eight and 12.  The study also looked at how many people went on to develop allergies.  Researchers found that 80 percent of Swedish babies ate fish at least twice a month. Children who ate fish twice a month were significantly less likely to develop allergies compared to those who rarely or never ate fish.

Researchers noted that they were unable to determine which type of fish had the most pronounced effect.

"Regular fish consumption in infancy may reduce the risk of allergic disease up to the age of 12," researchers wrote in the study, according to the Daily Mail.

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