Researchers assessed the food consumption of 2,978 Dutch children aged 2 years and related this to asthma symptoms at age 3.
Asthma at age 3 was lower in children who consumed full cream milk and butter daily than in those who did not. Similarly, wheeze was lower in children who consumed milk products (including yoghurt and chocolate milk) and butter daily than in those who did not. Daily consumption of brown bread was also associated with lower rates of asthma and wheeze.
Children who consumed fruit juice and vegetables daily had lower asthma rates than other children, but these differences were not statistically significant.
These results provide evidence for a beneficial association between daily consumption of products containing milk fat and the development of asthma and wheeze in young children, say the authors. Various components of the products involved could play a role, such as different fatty acids, but also antioxidants or other micronutrients, they suggest.