A recent study suggests that feeding fish to your baby could reduce his or her chance of developing asthma, eczema or allergies later in life.

The research was recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Jessica Magnusson, a PhD candidate at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and one of the authors of the study, said that their research involved 3,285 children. The parents were surveyed when their children were 1, 2, 4, 8, and 12 years old.

Eighty percent of the children in the study ate fish at least once every two weeks, while the other 20 percent did not eat fish. The study results showed a decreased risk of allergies in children who consumed fish during infancy.

Study Examines Allergy Risk Throughout Childhood

“We had in a previous study, [with] the same children, seen an association between fish intake in infancy and a reduced risk of allergic disease,” Magnusson said.

The current study extends the previous study, following the children until age 12 to more fully examine their risk of developing allergies during childhood. The researchers found that feeding a child pureed fish during infancy may lower their risk of allergies by as much at 75 percent.

Jacqueline Pongracic, head of allergy and immunology at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, noted that the potential link between fish consumption and food allergies has been noticed before.

“Where there is a high consumption of fish, there are less fish allergies,” she said. The study also follows other recent research suggesting that early introduction of potentially allergenic foods could actually help to reduce food allergies.

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