Women who eat plenty of apples during pregnancy might be protecting their baby from developing asthma.
Research carried out by the University of Aberdeen and the charity Asthma UK, also found that eating more fish in pregnancy lowered a child's risk of developing allergic eczema.
The researchers said they did not know why apples or fish had these benefits as it is difficult to link maternal diet and child health, especially as there are so many other factors affecting asthma and eczema.
The diets of 2000 women throughout pregnancy were monitored and then their child's health was looked at over 5 years. The children of women who ate 4 or more apples a week during pregnancy were only half as likely to develop asthma as those of women who ate less than one apple a week. Pregnant women who ate a portion or more of fish a week had half a chance of having their child diagnosed with eczema.
Dr Graham Devereux, one of the researchers, said, "There may well be another factor in the lifestyles of women who eat lots of apples that is influencing this result. But it is certainly a clear association, and it is certainly less controversial to encourage women to eat more fruit during pregnancy rather than to take extra vitamins."
Dr Victoria King, Research Development Manager at Asthma UK says, 'This study suggests a simple modification that can be made to a pregnant mother's diet which may help protect her child from developing asthma before the age of five. The study supports our advice to pregnant mothers to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
"One in ten children in the UK has asthma so it is vital to continue funding research that could reduce the incidence of childhood asthma."