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Diet during pregnancy and leukaemia

Women who eat a diet rich in vegetables and protein during pregnancy can lower the risk of leukaemia in their child.

Diet during pregnancy and leukaemia

Women who eat a diet rich in vegetables and protein during pregnancy can lower the risk of leukaemia in their child.The genetic event that initiates leukaemia development may occur in the womb suggesting that potential risk factors in the prenatal environment, such as maternal diet, could be implicated in the development of the disease.Researchers from the University of California, USA, and evaluated the diets of women 12 months before they became pregnant, assuming that their diet during this period reflected their diet during pregnancy. The study included 138 babies with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) born between 1995 and 1999, and 138 infants without ALL that were matched by gender, date of birth, mother's race and ethnicity. It was found that vegetable, fruit and protein consumption were inversely proportional to the child's risk, Jensen's group found. Specifically, carrots, string beans, peas, cantaloupe, beans and beef were foods associated with reduced risk. The specific dietary nutrients included provitamin A carotenoids and alpha and beta-carotene.
The findings show how vital it is that women hoping to get pregnant, as well as expectant moms, understand that critical nutrients in vegetables, fruit and foods containing protein, such as meat, fish, beans and nuts, may protect the health of their unborn children.
Cancer Causes and Control,
September 2004
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