Sunshine might be the best medicine after all, researchers find

Simon Priest enjoy the sunshine at the Mountain Ales craft Beer Festival at Sport Fishing and Underwater Club in ...
ROBERT CHARLES / FAIRFAX NZ

Simon Priest enjoy the sunshine at the Mountain Ales craft Beer Festival at Sport Fishing and Underwater Club in Taranaki on Saturday.

After years of public health warnings about the dangers of sun, it turns out our devotion to slip, slop, could in part be causing high allergy rates in young children.

Researchers from Auckland University found young children could be developing asthma and allergies due to being deficient in vitamin D.

Lead researcher Cameron Grant is calling for pregnant mothers and young children to take vitamin D supplements to avoid health problems.

Cameron Grant's research has found Vitamin D could prevent allergies in children.

Cameron Grant's research has found Vitamin D could prevent allergies in children.

It comes as New Zealand has been basking in a late Autumnal blast of warm, sunny days, but according to forecasters, that's all about to change.

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But after a warm start to Autumn, wind and rain are due to hit most places on Sunday, continuing on into Monday.

Grant said the university's clinical trial of vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and infancy found they may help to reduce New Zealand's high childhood allergy rate.

"It's the first study to show that correcting poor vitamin D status during pregnancy and infancy might prevent childhood asthma."  

New Zealand's sun-avoidance public health policy, our diet has a low vitamin D content and vitamin D supplements are not widely used.

Grant said fortifying food with vitamin D was a much safer way to than heading to the beach.

"In Europe and North America, all milk has vitamin D added to it."

Changing lifestyles have also affected vitamin D intake, with children more likely to be playing a Playstation than outdoor activities.

Foods that are rich in vitamin D are mushrooms, oily fish, eggs and liver.

Asthma and allergies are common in New Zealand, with 25 percent of six to seven year olds reported with asthma and 35 percent of 11 to 12 year olds having an allergic response to house dust mite, plant, food or other allergens.

Getting vitamin D from the sun is about to get a lot more difficult, as inclement conditions hit most parts of the country this week.

Rain will return to the Fiordland and the southern West Coast on Saturday. Wet weather is forecast to continue across lower Canterbury and along the West Coast on Sunday.   

And the changing weather patterns has had a dramatic effect on our internet search habits.

Figures released by Google show soup and slow cooker searches has replaced salad and BBQ in Kiwi's search habits.  

Interest in soup has increased by 70% over the past month, while recipe searches for low cooking have leapt by 90% over the same period.

Peaks of both soup and slow cooking on Saturdays suggests Kiwi cooks are heading into the kitchen at the weekend to prepare these warm, hearty meals.

The fastest rising search for soup in the past 12 months was for gazpacho, followed by minestrone, roasted pumpkin, bacon broth and mushroom, indicating these soups will be on trend over the coming winter.

 

 

 

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