Researchers have linked fresh baby food to lower risk of food allergies in infants.

The study, which had 1,140 parents keep food diaries of their baby’s intake for the first year of life, found that those who were introduced to foods other than breast milk or formula had a lower risk of food allergies if they were given fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods rather than processed or packaged foods.

“The analysis showed that the infants who were having more fruits and vegetables and less commercially produced baby foods and also less adult foods were the ones who were less likely to develop an allergy by the time they were two,” lead researcher Kate Grimshaw told Reuters. “It’s not that they didn’t have commercially-made baby foods, it’s just that they did not have them predominantly in their diet.”

She says that the study does not prove that fresh foods prevent allergies in infants, but it does indicate that diet definitely plays a role. It is well-known that nutrients in children’s diets educate their immune systems, but how these interact is unknown. This study takes researchers one step closer to figuring that out.

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